The general philosophy of Mines is that research data should be made available for access and re-use where appropriate and under appropriate safeguards. Open access to research data from public funding should be easy, timely, and user friendly. However not all data can or should have unrestricted access. Availability of certain data may need to be restricted due to confidentiality, contractual or other issues. Note that federal programs may differ in their definitions of restricted, confidential, sensitive, and classified data. And data ownership and control issues can be complex in some situations.
Mines policy grants ownership of research data and materials to the school. The researcher generally retains the rights and responsibilities over control and licensing of data and related materials. Distribution is also at the discretion of the principal investigator, based on the Data Management Plan, if it exists, and barring any limits imposed by confidentiality agreements or funding agency restrictions.
Sharing Data Appropriately
Preserving data in data centers or repositories which are managed by trusted entities for long-term access is a common and perhaps preferred way to share data. Other options are to share directly with colleagues via email, or collaborative networks. There are a number of important issues to consider when planning for data sharing such as:
• Does the research project have sufficient permissions necessary to disseminate the project data?
• Does the project need to provide access to all the data produced under a grant?
• Do the data include any private information, medical information, or other information with possible confidentiality concerns?
• Would the project like Attribution/Acknowledgment to be required or requested?
• Would the project like to receive information regarding the use of the project data by users?
• Would project like to provide permission for users to redistribute project data under certain conditions?
Exclusive rights to reuse or publish research data should not be handed over to commercial publishers or agents without retaining the rights to make the data openly available for re-use, unless this is a condition of funding.
Legal, Technical and Social Aspects of Open Data
When applying a license to your own data, you are encouraged to make it as open as appropriate, to enable others to use and build on your data. See the Open Data Handbook for more information on the legal, social and technical aspects of open data.