a. What and how long

How much data and methods you must store in a public archive still varies widely between scientific disciplines, scientific journals and research funders.

Nowadays, many scientific journals demand open access of the raw research data. The Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission has recently developed Guidelines to the rules on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Open Access to Research Data (See Figure below). Clinical trial data should always be accessible to monitoring bodies (e.g., internal audits). In general, research data should be preserved as long as the potential value is higher than the archival and maintenance costs.

From: Guidelines to the rules on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Open Access to Research Data in Horizon 2020.

 

It is preferable if in your chosen repository:

  • A persistent identifier is given, a permanent link which points to the data, making your data findable and citable;
  • A license is given or can be chosen, creating clarity and certainty for potential users of your data. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Data storage encompasses less than data archiving. Storing data means saving it on some kind of storage device. Storage guarantees nothing about the data's preservation and availability in the long run. Archiving means moving valuable data to a separate data storage device for long-term retention. According to another definition, scientific data archiving is the long-term storage of scientific data and methods.

What is archived varies widely between different scientific disciplines. The major research funders have varying attitudes towards data archiving. Scientific journals also have differing policies regarding how much data and methods you must archive in a public archive.

In a few fields, all or most of the data that is necessary to replicate the work is already published in the scientific article. In other fields, a large amount of data is generated and must be archived separately so researchers can verify that the data accurately reflect the claims. Your data should always be accessible to monitoring bodies (e.g., internal audits).

It may be that the stewards of existing data require that the results of the new research are added to the database from which data were released for this new research, even if additional data were collected for this new research.

Minimum: The VSNU has set the minimum archiving period for raw data to 10 years, starting three months after completion of the research project. For medical records, this period is 15 years or longer (WGBO (article 454)) and (patient) data for drug research must be stored for 20 years.

Maximum: There is no limit to the duration of preserving anonymised data. You should preserve your data as long as its potential value is higher than the archival and maintenance costs. Budget for long-term archiving will need to come from sources other than your research project's budget.

More information can be found in the document ‘Kwaliteitsborging 2.0 (NFU)'

The GPDR (AVG) states that personal data may not be kept longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they were collected or for which they are used. Non-anonymised data may, however, be preserved for historical, statistical or scientific purposes.

The aim of open science is that researchers reuse other parties' research data and services where possible and make their own data available as far as possible. To do so, the data must first be saved and outlined to facilitate the reuse and reproducibility of research.

It is the ambition of the Netherlands to publish 100% open access in 2020.

On 4 September 2018, 11 national research funding organisations, with the support of the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC), announced the launch of cOAlition S, an initiative to make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality. It is built around Plan S, which consists of one target and 10 principles.

The key principle of Plan S is as follows: “By 2020 scientific publications on the results from research funded by public grants provided by national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms.”

The debate is ongoing.

Use the Toolbox to find archiving solutions at your UMC.