STFC leads the way for sharing research data in the UK

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have expanded their commitment to make data collected by our facilities more accessible by joining four other major research centres in the British Library’s DataCite service.

DataCite is a global initiative which addresses the problem of how to find, access and re-use the results of research. STFC, the Archaeology Data Service, the UK Data Archive, the Natural Environment Research Council and the Chinese genomics institute BGI have signed up to the service and are the first institutions to work with the British Library on this initiative.

In recent months the STFC Scientific Computing Department have been working with the British Library Datacite service to provide digital object identifiers (DOIs) for STFC collected data.  In particular they have been working with the ISIS facility to add DOIs to their data sets coming from experiments undertaken by their users.

Professor Robert McGreevy, Director, ISIS Neutron and Muon Source at STFC said “Data is the core 'product' of STFC - all of our research results, and the resulting economic and social benefits are derived from it.  We have been looking for some time at a way of making data more accessible to our research community. Signing up to DataCite and having our data sets catalogued by the British Library Datacite service offers STFC a very effective way of ensuring scientists can cite and access the data set in a standard manner.”

“This process will allow data to be more easily found and reused, and credited in publications, thus enhancing the value of the data to STFC, giving credit to the scientists and getting better value for money for the public.”

This initiative provides a practical solution to one of the most significant challenges facing researchers today – access to data – an issue highlighted by the Royal Society in a report published in June this year, ‘Science as an open enterprise’, which recommended that scientists should communicate the data they collect in fieldwork and research more widely.

The benefits for researchers include:

■Confidence that the link to the data (or information about the data) will be persistently and uniquely identified
■Increased ease of citing data which will, in turn, increase its discovery and access, enabling others to verify the results and validate their own research
■Access to a myriad of new research opportunities which have been out-of-reach until now
■Acknowledgement and credit for sharing data and having it cited

“Enabling researchers to cite data, along with journal articles and other references, is becoming increasingly important, and DataCite has the potential to transform the way scientists communicate their research.” said Dr Lee-Ann Coleman, Head of Science, Technology and Medicine at the British Library. “As an institution dedicated to providing information, as well as practical support to researchers, we believe that the British Library DataCite service is addressing some of the barriers to data sharing.”


Notes to Editors

For more information about the British Library DataCite service, visit http://www.bl.uk/datasets (link opens in a new window)

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It has the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection, including world-leading scientific, technical and medical information resources. These support researchers engaged in academic, commercial and public service research across all scientific disciplines. The Library runs regular science events and participates in major projects that enable better access to information for researchers, including the British Library DataCite service and UK PubMed Central.

www.bl.uk/science (link opens in a new window) and follow @ScienceBL

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