Sharing research results is an established academic practice, whether through publication or through more informal means with colleagues and collaborators. The increasing digitisation of research means that it has never been easier to share data on a more detailed level.
If you're setting out on a research project, it's worth checking whether there are already data available that you might be able to use. This may show up as part of a literature review, but there are a number of dedicated data archives and repositories which you should take a look at too.
There are a number of reasons why you might consider sharing your own research data:
- Sharing of data supports research integrity by allowing the analysis to be easily verified
- Shared data can be a source of new collaborations, as your work is more discoverable
- Published articles whose underlying data are also published often receive more citations than those whose data are kept private
- Published data can often be used in novel ways not expected by the original data creators, such as large-scale meta-analyses
- Where shared data are reused this can be used by the originating researcher as evidence of impact, helping career progression
- Many funding bodies require data from funded projects to be shared publicly available where possible (e.g. RCUK policy on Access to Research Outputs).