Sharing your valuable research data after the project is complete is an avenue that more and more researchers are taking. It allows new research that builds on what has come before, without other researchers having to duplicate the same work. It also legitimizes your work and allows others to verify your research and conclusions. Ultimately, sharing your data serves as a public good to academia and future research. There are legitimate reasons for not wanting to share your data with others but it might be worth determining whether these can be overcome in your particular case.
There are examples of online portals with access to usable data. For example, Databib is a tool for helping people identify and locate online repositories of research data.
Some data repositories are licensed, but can be valuable resources for researchers at particular institutions. The Ontario Council of University Libraries has created the Scholars Portal, which includes geospatial data and social science datasets for researchers in Ontario. It is collected and shared by Ontario’s 21 university libraries. The UBC library’s Data Services page also makes geospatial data available and links to Abacus (use this link for UBC login) which hosts all types of data.
DataCite Canada now provides a data registration service for registering research data and assigning digit object identifiers (DOIs) to them. Sharing data in this way increases the visibilty of your research and allows for large-scale research projects to be carried out.
Institutions that maintain and make accessible research data created by others act as data curators. As such, they must have a means of understanding what data they house and describing it for other potential users. The digital curation of data involves the selection, preservation, maintenance, collection and archiving of the data. These activities add value to the data and help explicate the circumstances of their creation and why they are useful to others. They also help ensure that data remains preserved and accessible in the future.