Monday, August 24, 2015

University Data Policies and Library Data Services: Who Owns Your Data?

University Data Policies and Library Data Services: Who Owns Your Data? Lisa D. Zilinski, Abigail Gobens and Kristin Briney. Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology. August 2015. [PDF]
     'Who owns the data' is an important question, but the answer is often unclear, especially for unfunded research and pilot projects. Other questions that need to be asked are:
  • What happens if a researcher leaves the institution?
  • What if someone needs access to the data?
  • How long do I have to keep them and how should I discard them?
  • What happens if there is no policy? How should policies be determined?
  • If the data is part of a collaborating project then which policy takes precedence?
From the study, the author report that approximately
  • 50% of the libraries surveyed offer some form of data services beyond a resource guide. 
  • 40% of the libraries have a staff member (often the science librarian) assigned to research data management initiatives. 
  • 10% have a dedicated data repository.
This study points out the challenges that researchers, librarians and institutions face when trying to meet funding or journal requirements on public access. This study also found that top research institutions almost universally offer research data services. Libraries are developing programs and services aimed at the entire data life cycle while ownership of the data and other legal concerns are of highest significance to the universities. This provides an opportunity for librarians to lead policy development; educate faculty and administrators about best practices; and determine how to navigate the numerous policies from funding groups, academic journals, and collaborating institutions.

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