Introduction to publish data as open access
Open access publishing of data is usually one of the final steps to be taken in a research project. There could be numerous reasons to publish and make your data openly available - some of them are pointed out here below.
By publishing data it is possible to subsequently verify published results or investigate scientific misconduct. Far beyond the end of a research project, it is also possible that precious research data can be reused in new research. Data that is made available in a recommended and standardized manner can be visualized, searchable and it is possible to be cite and reference it correctly.
The Swedish Government and, for example, the Swedish Research Council's goal is that all scientific publications that result from Swedish publicly funded research should be openly available directly when they are published, together with the data that are the basis for the publication. This should be fully implemented by 2026 at the latest. But already requirements and recommendations are set internationally regarding Open Access to research data from both funders and scientific journal publishers.
Data that cannot be shared or published openly
Some research data may not be shared openly and published for legal or ethical reasons.
- If the research data contains sensitive personal data and, for example, is covered by the GDPR
- If it includes material that is copyrighted by someone else
- If there is no written consent from the participants in the study regarding open publication of the result
- If the material contains information that discloses business secrets.
When data cannot be made completely open and published, however, metadata about a dataset can be published and thus still make the data visible and searchable. This can for example be done via the Swedish National Data Service's (SND’s) metadata catalog.