This project was developed as a key component of the workplan of the Expert Advisory Group on Data Access (EAGDA).
EAGDA wished to understand the factors that help and hinder individual researchers in making their data (both published and unpublished) available to other researchers, and to examine the potential need for new types of incentives to enable data access and sharing. This is a critical challenge in achieving the shared policy commitment of the four EAGDA funders to maximise the benefit derived from data outputs and the considerable investment they have made over recent years in supporting data sharing.
In addition to a review of previous reports and other initiatives in this area, the work involved in-depth interviews with key stakeholders; two focus group discussions; and a web survey to which 35 responses were received from a broad range of researchers and data managers.
Although based on a relatively modest number of responses and interviews, the findings closely mirrored those of previous work in this area. In particular there was a clear, overarching view that the research culture and environment is not perceived as providing sufficient support, nor adequate rewards for researchers who generate and share high-quality datasets.