Text: Kaisa Järvelä

FSD Probes Researcher Attitudes towards Open Access to Data

According to the query, archiving remains quite an uncommon practice in both the humanities and health and medical sciences. Still, more than 60 per cent of respondents said they would be likely to use FSD services.

In May 2015, the FSD conducted a researcher survey to probe attitudes towards data management and archiving in health and medical sciences and the humanities. The e-mail questionnaire was sent to a total of 1,428 researchers.

Although the response rate was quite low (ca 14 %), the survey still provided some valuable insight into archiving and data-sharing practices and attitudes in these fields of science. Of the respondents, 37 % were humanists, mostly historians.

Humanists aware of sponsors’ recommendations

Annaleena Okuloff, a Research Specialist at the FSD, believes that most respondents were, in one way or another, interested in data archiving.

Despite this, half did not know whether their organisation had any guidelines on long-term preservation of data or on providing access to data beyond the researcher or research team. This goes to prove the unfamiliarity of open access and data archiving in both the humanities and health and medical sciences.

Most humanist respondents (63 %) had heard of the open access recommendations from their funders, while only 35 % were familiar with publishers' requirements or recommendations. This result seems to indicate that in the humanities, too, open access publishing is not yet an established practice.

In health and medical sciences, pressure from the publishers' side is much stronger: of the health and medical science researchers who responded to the survey, half reported having been notified of open access recommendations or requirements by their publishers.

Humanists greenlight archiving

Although only 20 % of the humanist respondents considered depositing data in a separate data archive to be common practice in their field, more than half (52 %) said they would be willing to archive, while another 32 % would consider it. The vast majority of humanists (87 %) were of the opinion that the appropriate entity to perform the archiving would be a national data archive.

Although official archiving is still rare, humanists have a high tendency to share data between research groups: of the respondents, as many as 82 % identified this practice.

FSD services are fairly well known among humanists: 77 % of the surveyed researchers had at least heard of the archive. In health and medical sciences, the corresponding figure was much lower – only 50 %.

Although archiving is still quite an uncommon practice in both and health and medical sciences and the humanities well over half of respondents believed this would change: 63 % expected to use FSD services at some point in the future.

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