RECODE project comes to a close

More than two years ago, together with partners from England, Greece, Italy and Sweden, the eHumanities group started work on RECODE, one of the last EU Framework 7 projects, about open access to research data. When we started, this was still a relatively arcane topic, primarily of interest to archivists and librarians. But it has now become a very hot topic, high on the agenda of national and international funding agencies as well as publishers and researchers. Our major objective was to produce policy recommendations, and this we have done. They have been published, both as a long deliverable, and a more accessible report. Both of these and all other publications arising from the project are available on the project website.

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In the course of the project, we identified two main obstacles in achieving the desideratum of open access to research data. The first is a lack of a coherent data ecosystem, where instead there are many systems and standards that are not compatible. The second is the lack of awareness of and attention to the specificities of research practices. The ways in which physicists go about collecting data and making it available to others is different from what archaeologists might do. This may sound obvious, but nonetheless policy makers continue to promote one-size-fits-all policies. To help them and other stakeholders to further their goals of open access to research data, we have produced a booklet with recommendations targeted at research funders, research institutions (such as universities), data managers, and publishers. This does not mean that researchers have been forgotten, as researchers are central to the production of data and the future success of any policy measures. RECODE members are also busy developing course materials to be used in training researchers. These were first tried out at a workshop aimed at early career researchers held in Sheffield on 14-15 May.