Sharing Research Data

At EPFL, we strongly supports the idea that scientific publications should include information on how to access the data related to the reported findings. Provided there are no legal or ethical reasons that prevent or delay public release, this data should be made freely available to anyone.

Why manage and share your research data?

Research data, regardless of the format, is often necessary to describe research findings so that they can be validated and further built upon by others. However, open access to research data is not a goal in itself: it is the last step of a research management process which requires careful attention.

Good data management is an essential part of the research process, and contributes to guarantee integrity, transparency and reproducibility of research findings. Planning the management of research data before starting a new project allows anticipating the measures to put in place at any stage of the data life cycle and their related costs. The Data Management Plan is the tool that helps to formalize this process.

LHC plans for open data future, Elizabeth Gibney (2013) Nature 503, 447

Data and the knowledge needed to interpret them are more likely to survive in the long term if many people outside an experiment are constantly trying to make sense of them

LHC plans for open data future, Elizabeth Gibney (2013) Nature 503, 447,

Ultimately, data management benefits the researchers themselves as it helps them organise and find their own data at a later stage in their project, as well as mitigate the risk of losing important information. By making your data open, you will also save time as none of your colleagues will have to send an email to obtain a particular dataset.

What are the requirements?

Many journals require authors to share the data underlysing the findings described in a manuscript. You can find more information in their publishing guidelines. In addition, some funding agencies have specific requirements on research data:

  • The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) requests researchers to provide a Data Management Plan with the grant application, and to share the research data underlying their publications in a public data repository. More information about the SNSF Data Management Plan and Open Research Data requirements are available on their website.
  • The European Commission requires a Data Management Plan as a deliverable for every funded project within the Horizon 2020 framework (including ERC grants). Similar to the SNSF requirements, data underlying publications must be deposited in a repository, and made accessible and reusable by third parties. More information can be found here.

How can I get support?

A team at EPFL Library is there to assist researchers with the management and publication of their research data. For questions concerning these aspects, please visit the EPFL Research Data website, or contact the team by email.

For questions concerning ethical clearance of the Data Management Plan, please contact the EPFL Research Office (ReO) by email.

For questions regarding the intellectual property related to research data, please contact the EPFL Technology transfer office (TTO).