The IT Law Wiki


Scientific research[]

Data sharing is the practice of making data used for scholarly research available to other investigators.

U.S. government[]

Data sharing efforts

are designed to transmit from an originating organization to a receiving organization specific intelligence or criminal justice data to ensure that the receiving organization has a more complete picture of a person, event, or other relevant entity — the traditional 'dot collection' and 'dot connecting' goal of information sharing. The intent is to inform a decision or assessment (e.g., about whether a specific person is a threat, what action should be taken in a situation) or increase the chance of a successful outcome (e.g., locating a suspected perpetrator of a crime) in an investigation or other ongoing operation.[1]

Overview (Scientific research)[]

Many funding agencies, institutions, and publication venues have policies regarding data sharing because transparency and openness are considered by many to be part of the scientific method. A number of funding agencies and science journals require authors of peer-reviewed papers to share any supplemental information (raw data, statistical methods or source code) necessary to audit or reproduce published research.

A great deal of scientific research is not subject to data sharing requirements, and many of these policies have liberal exceptions. In the absence of any binding requirement, data sharing is at the discretion of the scientists themselves. In addition, in certain situations agencies and institutions prohibit or severely limit data sharing to protect proprietary interests, national security, and patient/victim confidentiality.

Data and methods may be requested from an author years after publication. In order to encourage data sharing and prevent the loss or corruption of data, a number of funding agencies and journals established policies on data archiving. Access to publicly archived data is a recent development in the history of science made possible by technological advances in communications and information technology.

Despite policies on data sharing and archiving, data withholding still happens. Authors may fail to archive data or they only archive a portion of the data. Failure to archive data alone is not data withholding. When a researcher requests additional information, an author sometimes refuses to provide it. When authors withhold data like this, they run the risk of losing the trust of the science community.

Overview (U.S. government)[]

"Sharing information is an important tool in improving the efficiency and integrity of government programs. By sharing data, agencies can often reduce errors, improve program efficiency, evaluate program performance, and reduce information collection burdens on the public. Technological advances have broadened the government's ability to share data for these uses. Likewise, such advances have enhanced the government's ability to use computerized analysis to identify and reduce fraud, waste, and abuse."[2]


See also[]

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