What is open data? MedEdPublish advocates for open research and endorses an Open Data Policy.
We strongly believe that making research data open and FAIR can accelerate the pace of discovery, provide credit and recognition for authors, and improve public trust in research. Enabling access to the data underlying your results also supports reproducibility and reuse, regardless of your field of study. There is also evidence to suggest that publications associated with a shared dataset have a citation advantage!
This page includes guidance on how to make your data open and FAIR, advice on finding suitable repositories, and tips about how you can share sensitive data. Keep reading for information and resources designed to answer your key questions, including:
- What is open data?
- Why should I choose open data?
- What are the benefits?
- How should I prepare my data for MedEdPublish?
What is open data?
The term ‘open data’ is defined as data that anyone can access, use or share. For researchers, this refers to any information or materials that have been collected or created as part of a research project. It’s important to remember that data can take many forms, including survey results, gene sequences, software, code, neuro-images, and even audio files. In research, open data practices are also referred to as ‘data sharing’.
We understand that there are some cases where data sharing is not appropriate for legal, ethical, data protection, or confidentiality reasons, which is why MedEdPublish recommends researchers strive to make their data as open as possible, and as closed as necessary. This means researchers should only restrict access to their data where absolutely necessary, in situations where openly sharing the data is not possible.
What is FAIR data? The FAIR principles are a framework for scientific research and data management, designed to maximise its reuse and support open data practices. FAIR data is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. FAIR data goes beyond open data, aiming to make the data itself more useful and user-friendly. At MedEdPublish, we endorse the FAIR guidelines as part of our Open Data Policy.
What are the benefits of open data for researchers?
Boost the credibility of your research
By sharing your data openly, your entire research project becomes more transparent. When you enable the replication and validation of your research, others can ensure that conclusions are built upon a firm foundation, boosting the research’s credibility and robustness.
Accelerate the pace of discovery
When data is made openly available, it can be easily accessed and used to create a fuller picture of any given area of research or analysed by data mining software that can uncover connections not apparent to those who produced the original data, accelerating the pace of discovery.
Progress your career
Researchers can benefit from increased credit and recognition for their outputs by sharing their research data, which can lead to increased opportunities for collaboration. Plus, one 2019 study suggests that open data can generate up to 25% more citations!
Advance knowledge in your field
Open data supports learning and enables a deeper understanding of research topics. There are several ways to use or analyse any given dataset; what seems like noise to one person could be an important discovery to someone else with a different perspective or analytical technique.
How can I share my data?
Open data can’t be an afterthought, so it’s essential to know at the outset of your research project if you’ll be making your data open, so that you can plan accordingly. Create a detailed Data Management Plan (DMP) at the start of your project and keep this updated throughout. Your DMP is a living document that will change and grow over the course of your research lifecycle.
We understand that data collection can be daunting, which is why there’s lots of support available with MedEdPublish.
Open data on MedEdPublish
Before you submit your article, you must make sure your research data complies our progressive Open Data Policy, and that you’ve prepared your data according to our rigorous Data Guidelines. All articles to submitted to the Platform should include a Data Availability Statement: this is a short section of text providing citations to repositories that host the data underlying your results, together with details of any software used to process results.
How to write a Data Availability Statement
Need help putting together your Data Availability Statement? We’ve put together a quick guide which walks you through every step of the process, including:
- What is a Data Availability Statement?
- What types of data is covered?
- What if my article doesn’t have any data?
- How to reference third party data
If you have questions, please get in touch with our Editorial team, who will be happy to help!
4 steps to open data
1. Prepare your data for sharing
This step may be time consuming, but also the most important. Firstly, consider how to make your data as open as possible, and as closed as necessary, considering the following: are there any ethical or security issues around sharing your data? Do you need to anonymize your dataset to protect patient or participant privacy? If you have any questions, reach out to the MedEdPublish Editorial team for advice!
2. Select a repository
Your datasets should be deposited in a stable and recognized open repository, under a CC0 license. Your community might have a recognized repository, and some data types have specific data banks they should be deposited in. Struggling to decide which repository is right for your research? Download our handy guide!
3. Add a Data Availability Statement to your article
On MedEdPublish, all articles must include a Data Availability Statement, even when there is no data associated with the article. This statement helps your reviewers and readers find and access the data underlying your results. Not sure how? We have a helpful guide!
4. Link your datasets to your article
Once your article is published, update your repository project with the DOI for your article. Linking your data and your article in this way means they are reciprocally connected, ensuring you receive credit for your work.
So that's it - four simple steps to open data on MedEdPublish! Ready to publish? SUBMIT YOUR RESEARCH NOW