After a research project ends, it may be necessary to make the data, or at minimum information about those data, available to other researchers per the Data Management Plan. A good way to disseminate research data to colleagues and more widely is to deposit it in a repository or archive. Controlling access to these data can then be accomplished in a variety of ways, for example using passwords, encryption, or a permissions authorization system.
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.
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.
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.
This page recommends tools or sites that will help you find tools for manipulating, visualizing and interacting with data, metadata, web technologies, etc. Be sure to checkout the CCIT software list.
R (Website) (Campus Computer Lab)
MATLAB (Campus Computer Lab)
Retrieval and access procedures for restricted data are based on the data archive and the individuals deemed responsible for providing access. Retrieval and access to both restricted and unrestricted research data should be aligned with funder/sponsor requirements and based on the Data Management Plan. Controlling access can then be accomplished in a variety of ways, such as password protection or encryption, or through a system of permissions authorizations involving one or more Gatekeepers. Note that the researcher’s ideal choice of permission restrictions may conflict with the rules of a given repository. If data are restricted, one or more individuals responsible for authorization will need to be specified as the Gatekeeper, whose role it is to control access. Gatekeepers can be the Research Support Services group, the PI, an Office of Research Administration employee, a data center’s archivist, or whoever is thus designated in the Data Management Plan. If a permission authorization system is to be used, specific requirements and guidelines for evaluating the request and providing access need to be specified.
Depending on the research discipline, data can often be deposited in one or more data centers (or repositories) that will provide access to the data. These repositories may have specific requirements in regards to: subject/research domain, data re-use and access, file format and data structure, and metadata.
The Mines Repository is a stable platform for sharing Mines’ work. The IR fosters research, learning, and discovery by sharing Mines’ scholarly, educational, and creative content with the world.
See library.mines.edu/research/ir/ for more information on depositing your work.
The institutional repository has file size limitations; therefore researchers must contact the Library to ensure sufficient storage availability. For large datasets, other arrangements with IT&S may be required to support local storage and access. Alternatively, the researcher may opt for off-campus archival storage.
There are many different external repositories in which to deposit data. In many cases, repositories and data centers will have their own policies regarding transfer, access permissions, data formats, metadata creation, retention periods, costs, policies and procedures. If you are going to use a repository/data center, check their policies before including them in a Data Management Plan. Any data that are deposited externally still needs to create metadata that can be added to the Mines institutional respository in order to facilitate discovery and re-use.