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In some cases, you will need to address special concerns around data. This is especially true when writing a data management plan: if you are working with data that needs special protection, you will need to outline how you are protecting that data. This includes protection from loss and unauthorized access. Remember, funding agencies ultimately want you to share the research and data they are paying for, so statements that the data cannot be shared are viewed with a great deal of criticism.
This being said, there are reasons to restrict access to data. Reasons include confidentiality, privacy concerns, or certain protections (e.g., locations of endangered species, local cultural artifacts, data about vulnerable populations like indigenous communities, etc.). In many cases, you can still share data with restrictions. This will help you meet the stipulations set out by your funding agency, while still enabling you to share data.
For example, some repositories offer gated entry to certain data types -- meaning, individuals need to have grant funding and a series of credentials in order to use data. Memorandums of Understanding can be ways to make sure your data is being used ethically.
You can also take certain steps in order to share your data openly, including anonymizing your data, or sharing the processed, group-level data, instead of subject- or participant-level data.
Reporting out in the form of articles and publications is the standard method of sharing your discoveries with the world. Increasingly, sharing your data and other research outputs -- and sharing them openly -- is of great importance. This can be more intensely true in fields that can have direct benefits on the public, like the research done by public health scholars.
Template for reporting out on research activities. Use the template, below, or create your own. This can be a file stored in your project folder, updated as necessary. Be sure to include gray literature, data, and other methods you use to report out on your work!
Supporting open science can take a variety of forms:
Open science is a movement that pushes against the commercialization of scientific knowledge. By taking steps to dismantle the hold for-profit publishers have on the outputs of research, you can help democratize science and help fulfill the promise of scholarly inquiry to benefit all -- not just those with extensive budgets and large library systems.