With the launch of CORD (Cranfield Online Research Data) in May 2016, Cranfield University has begun making its research data outputs available as widely as possible, (where commercial, legal, and ethical factors allow). This is a strong trend across research organisations, with data gaining more visibility and credit. One consequence that is often discussed is collaboration: making your data discoverable may allow reuse by others and prompt not just increased citations, but also collaborative opportunities.
How are Cranfield University datasets discovered?
With regards to our datasets, people may search CORD if they want to see Cranfield outputs. It is promoted on our website and we are also investigating incorporating the feeds of latest datasets from CORD into academic staff profiles, just as publication outputs from CRIS are fed in. As CORD uses the figshare platform, all other figshare users (including UK and international universities) can easily search all outputs across figshare, thus further increasing our visibility. Furthermore, Jisc is working on a UK research data discovery service which should allow searching across all UK institutional data repositories and national data centres. Similarly, CORD is now included in re3data, an index of data repositories. Finally, as publications should include a data access statement (explaining how the underlying data can be accessed) or cite the underlying datasets, data is also discovered through articles, and vice versa.
How can I discover other datasets?
With regards to datasets external to Cranfield University, where should you be looking? It may depend on your subject. Re3data.org can be a good place to start: it is an index of over 1,200 data repositories, which you can browse or search by subject. It’s very useful in identifying potential sources of data that could be useful in your research, as well as perhaps repositories where you might want to submit data if you wish to use a subject repository rather than our institutional one. For social and economic data, the UK Data Archive is an extensive, well-known repository; other funding bodies in certain domains recommend or support specific data centres, for example NERC data centres or BBSRC data resources. The government is also pushing open data, and with the launch of #openDefra in June 2015 they promised to make 8,000 datasets publicly available over the course of the next 12 months; you can see information about the data released on their blog. For biosciences, the biosharing.org catalogue includes bioscience databases described according to domain guidelines and standards, partly compiled with the support of Oxford University Press and Re3Data.org. But this is just the tip of the iceberg… where else do you recommend for datasets in your domain?
CC-BY 2.5 Denmark image from www.digitalbevaring.dk (illustration by Jørgen Stamp)