b. Why?

Good data stewardship creates novel research opportunities. Scientists, patients, and the general public will benefit from new scientific knowledge, treatments, and applications that result from sharing high-quality data.

Data stewardship constitutes an essential part of science. Good data stewardship helps you organise and responsibly perform your research, increasing its quality. Promoting optimal (re)use of research data (Open Science) is one of the ambitions of the Netherlands (Nationaal Plan Open Science) and the European Union (EOSC Declaration). Future science and scientists will benefit from the efforts that are made today (Open Science 2030). New collaborations, discoveries and innovations will arise from reusing your research data across research fields and disciplines. Both patients and the general public will benefit from new scientific knowledge, treatments and applications that result from shared, trustworthy data.

On top of that, data stewardship is necessary to:

  • meet legal and ethical requirements, including privacy of study subjects;
  • protect your scientific integrity (VSNU code (Dutch) VSNU code (English));
  • meet the requirements of research funders;
  • meet the requirements of scientific journals concerning quality and traceability of data;
  • meet the needs of patients who wish that their data are optimally and respectfully used to improve healthcare.

Scientific research at UMCs often involves patients and patient data. Therefore, HANDS devotes special attention to patient participation, privacy and data security, throughout the research data lifecycle. The guidelines in HANDS align with most common practices at the UMCs, and align with research practices at other institutions such as universities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Several legal requirements and codes relate to data stewardship:

European laws and regulations

Dutch laws and regulations

Institutional requirements and codes

  • Institutional Research Code;
  • Institutional Data Stewardship Policy.

FAIR Principles

Research field-specific codes and guidelines

  • data loss;
  • loss of overview of research;
  • delay of research;
  • lack of reproducibility;
  • reputation damage;
  • liability;
  • losing or having to refund a research grant.

Research funders require varying degrees of data stewardship efforts. Many research funders request that you:

  • create and follow a data management plan;
  • create FAIR data;
  • share some or all of your data with the public;
  • share some or all of your data for further research or verification of your research results.

Recently, KNAW, NWO and ZonMw have signed the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). As a consequence, scientific output other than publications that has scientific and/or societal impact (such as data, software, code, patents, etcetera) will be part of determining quality. Also, there may be growing interest in how much (or often) research data were shared and with whom, when applying for funding