Publishing research data is a key step in the scholarly publishing process because it promotes transparency, reproducibility, and the validation of research methods. Research data is a primary research output that can be openly published via Research Direct to Research Data Australia for maximum discoverability and reuse. Sensitive or private data can be shared via Research Direct with restricted access so that you can consider requests for your data against your criteria.
To publish a research dataset, use the Research Direct repository dashboard to follow these steps:
Create a Research Data Management Plan
- Create a Research Data Management Plan - All researchers and HDR candidates must develop a research data management plan at the beginning of their research project to ensure a robust data management framework is in place prior to starting research at the University. It can begin as a basic plan and further information can be added as the project progresses
Archive the data at the project's completion
- Archive - A descriptive record will be retained in the Library's repository for long-term access and archiving. The Library works with ITDS to create secure long-term storage for archived datasets, taking into consideration privacy and access conditions associated with the data
Create a dataset publication
- Publish - The library can publish a description of your data either completely open access, condtional or restricted access. If appropriate, a DOI (permanent identifier) is issued so the dataset can be cited and added to a researcher's ORCID profile. In cases of sensitive data, a metadata-only record can be published that will direct future users back to the original researcher for information on the data.
Benefits of publishing research data
There are many benefits of publishing or sharing research data. Publicly available data records:
- are associated with an increase in citations
- promote new opportunities for collaboration
- improve efficiency and reduce costs
- reduce research participant fatigue
- providing credit to the researcher as a research output in its own right
- benefit the researchers of the future
- reduce duplication
- increase a researcher's profile
- increase the institution's profile
- satisfy many grant funder's conditions.
"Publicly available data is significantly (p=0.006) associated with a 69% increase in citations, independently of journal impact factor, date of publication, and author country of origin using linear regression."
Piwowar HA, Day RS, Fridsma DB (2007) Sharing Detailed Research Data Is Associated with Increased Citation Rate. PLoS ONE 2(3): e308. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0000308
Publishing sensitive data
The advantages of publishing your sensitive data will probably far outweigh any potential disadvantages when simple and appropriate steps are taken. Sensitive data can often be anonymised and de-identified so that the value of the data collected can be realised without compromising the privacy of the research participants.
Sensitive data that has been de-identified can be shared, but researchers can also place conditions around access to the published data. The library can publish a description of your data which means others can discover it and cite it, without making the data itself openly accessible. This is a metadata-only record that can be issued with a DOI ( permanent identifier) if appropriate and made discoverable through the Research Data Australia portal.
Publishing a metadata-only record increases the visibility of your research, which leads to new collaborations, increased citations, and greater research impact.
The Australian Research Data Commons provides guidance on when and how to publish sensitive data as openly and ethically as possible.
For further information about handling and publishing sensitive data, contact the Library's Research Data Management Consultant.
Making data FAIR
Making Australia’s research data FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) supports knowledge discovery and innovation. FAIR provides a useful framework for thinking about sharing data in a way that will enable maximum use and reuse.
All published data descriptions are assigned a persistent identifier in the form of a digital object identifier (DOI), and include a preferred citation for inclusion in reference lists. Data descriptions are shared to Research Data Australia, a national discovery portal for research datasets.
FAIR data does not necessarily have to be open access. Data can be restricted due to privacy concerns, national security, or commercial interests. Regardless, a published description should provide clarity and transparency around the conditions governing access and reuse, including a clear machine-readable licence where applicable.
Using open file formats, unique identifiers and agreed vocabularies in the data and metadata achieves consistency and interoperability between different datasets and the systems that store and use them.
Reusable datasets include rich, contextual description and clear communication of collection parameters, such as instrument calibration, environmental conditions, survey instrument design, software and code used.
The Library works with researchers to publish FAIR research datasets and records. start by creating a Research Data Management Plan for a research project via ResearchDirect.
Western Sydney University policy
As open as possible, as closed as necessary
The products and outputs of research conducted at Western Sydney University (including research data) should be appropriately archived and made openly available for re-use and citation wherever possible.
Library staff create a descriptive record to be made available in the Research Data Australia portal. These records are created with a stable URL or DOI (digital object identifier) and direct future researchers’ access enquiries back to the original researcher. Where possible, the data can also be made openly accessible for future use.
For further information about storing, archiving and publishing research data, see the WSU Research Data Management Policy.
Research funding bodies' requirements
Funders of research are increasingly interested in maximising the value of research data and may require you to have a data management plan in place.They may also require the researcher to provide a record of the archived location of the data in an institutional repository such as Research Direct.
Australia’s two major funding bodies have long recognised the value of proactive data management planning and providing access to research data wherever possible:
Australian Research Council (ARC)
Since 2020 the ARC has required that successful grant recipients have a data management plan in place prior to the commencement of the research project. Further information is available on the ARC website.
The ARC Open Access Policy does not currently mandate open access to data, but is committed to maximising the benefits from ARC-funded research and encourages researchers to deposit data arising from research projects in publicly accessible repositories.
NHMRC strongly encourages researchers to develop a research data management plan that considers the reuse value of their data; and to take reasonable steps to share research data and associated metadata arising from NHMRC-supported research.
Additional detail on the national approach for data management and sharing is available in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018 and the associated guide Management of Data and Information in Research.
Many journal publishers require openly published data or a data availability statement as part of their manuscript submission process, often requiring an archived location in an institutional repository such as Research Direct.
If you have a particular journal in mind for the publication of your research, check their data availability requirements using the CHORUS index.