EU Commission: Pilot launched to open up publicly funded research data

Economic growth predicted through open innovation
By Dillan Yogendra
11:17 AM

Researchers from projects participating in the pilot have been asked to make the underlying data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications and other scientific information available for use by other researchers, innovative industries and citizens. This will lead to better and more efficient science, as well as improved transparency for society in general. It will also contribute to economic growth through open innovation. During 2014–2015, areas involved in the Open Research Data pilot will receive funding of approximating €3 billion in total.

The Commission recognizes that research data are as important as publications. It therefore announced that it would experiment with open access. The pilot on Open Research Data in Horizon 2020 does for scientific information what Open Data Strategy1 does for public sector information – it aims to improve and maximize access to and re-use of research data generated by projects for the benefit of society and the economy.

The pilot involves key areas of Horizon 2020 that include: future and emerging technologies, research infrastructures, leadership, societal challenge, among others.

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Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda said, "We know that sharing and re-using research data holds huge potential for science, society and the economy. This Pilot is an opportunity to see how different disciplines share data in practice and to understand remaining obstacles."

Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said, "This pilot is part of our commitment to openness in Horizon 2020. I look forward to seeing the first results, which will be used to help set the course for the future."

Projects can opt out of the pilot to enable protection of intellectual property or personal data (in view of security concerns) or if the main objective of their research could be compromised by making data openly accessible.

The pilot will give the Commission a better understanding of what supporting infrastructure is needed and of the impact of limiting factors such as security, privacy or data protection, or other reasons for projects opting out of sharing. It will also provide insights regarding how best to create incentives for researchers to manage and share their data. It will be monitored throughout Horizon 2020, aiming to develop future Commission policy and EU research funding programmes.

In addition to the announced pilot on Open Research Data, Open access to scientific publications is now mandatory for all scientific publications resulting from H2020-funded projects. Articles will be made accessible in an open access repository. Projects must also aim to supply research data needed for validation of the results presented in the deposited scientific publications, known as ‘underlying data’.

The pilot targets underlying data, which is needed to reproduce the results presented in scientific publications, and other data as indicated by researchers in Data Management Plans (DMPs), a new element of Horizon 2020. DMPs describe the data management life cycle for all data that will be collected, processed or generated by the research project. All projects involved in the pilot will have a DMP, all other projects in H2020 will be invited to develop one on a voluntary basis when it is relevant to their research.

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