The Holistic Librarian – Thing 13

Hi. I am Anne Dinan and I am the Subject Librarian for Education, Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology

Task 13 was:

A post-doctoral researcher is leaving the University and the research that she has undertaken is part of a larger research project. What advice would give her so that the research is usable by the other members of the research group?


What I knew about the topic beforehand:

It is often the case that researchers move to different institutions, and the problem of sharing research results is not new.

What I know now:

I interpreted the question as involving a researcher who had left the university but who was still collaborating with former colleagues.  In this case my answer would be as follows.

One of the aims of REF is to reward and encourage the effective sharing and application of research findings.

It may be that there are specific requirements on the researcher to share data.  Many research funders expect data sharing where possible, and some publishers require authors to make data available as a condition of publishing.

Research data can be requested under the Freedom of Information legislation.

The Digital Curation Centre provides information on data sharing with an overview of funders’ data policies.

Data can be shared with external contacts ( and members of the previous research group) in a variety of ways, including:

  • Sending files by e-mail
  • Usage portable storage media e.g. CDs, USBs ( with encrypted data for security)
  • Online file sharing services such as Dropbox  or Microsoft sharepoint
  • Secure File transfer ( supported by University IT Services) , or with online services such as Yousendit
  • Wikis –allow text to be edited and uploaded
  • depositing the data with a specialist data centre
  • submitting data to a journal to support a publication
  • depositing data in an institutional repository or website


A second situation would be if the researcher left with no further contact with the research group. What information would she leave to her former colleagues so that they could use her data?

She could leave data on a central university server, or on portable media ( USB or CD) or send files by e-mail as previously listed.  It would depend on the type of research data ( e.g. respecting confidentiality, Copyright issues).  Some data would need to have specific details explained e.g. type of data, type of equipment, date of research collected.

How did I obtain this knowledge?

Some tips were given at a talk by the Open Access and Data Curation Manager during Open Access Week in October 2012.

More help can be found on the web.

The UKDA ( United Kingdom Data Archive) has useful information on managing and sharing data.  There is a useful publication Managing and sharing data: best practice for researchers.    The UKDA has a section on sharing data.

The Directory of Open Access Repositories – OpenDOAR provides helpful information.

What else would you like to know about the topic? How did you find this task? How would you improve it?

This is an interesting topic but also a quite complicated area. As the momentum for Open Access increases, so it will be easier to access information and share data to mutual benefit. Collating information on good and bad experiences in this area would be useful.



Posted under Holistic Librarian, Training

This post was written by eadinan on December 19, 2012

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