Experts participated in the SND-forum on the future of research data

News: 2015-04-21

How, where and by whom shall research data be stored and made available? These were the questions discussed when specialists from Swedish university libraries, archives and other research-supporting functions met at SND's initiative. Representatives from the National Archives and the Ministry of Education as well as legal experts also participated.

On the 8 th of April the SND forum attracted some sixty participants from all over the country.
“We are very pleased to see such a wide interest in this issue and has participants from almost all universities”, said SND's deputy director Iris Alfredsson.

The meeting was a followup to SND's forum last November. The next one will take place this autumn, on the 10th of November. In the meantime the discussion will be continuing online (in Swedish).

An important discussion during the day was the one about Swedish Research Council’s draft on National Guidelines for open access to research data, which are now processed by the Swedish Ministry of Education and Research. A public hearing on the matter is planned in the parliament during this spring.

”It is important that the government now gets input from the Scientific Community and other stakeholders”, said Eva Stensköld, Secretary at the Ministry of Education and Research.

Peter Linde from the Blekinge Institute of Technology discussed the problem of uncertainty among scientists about the ownership of research data. “It must be understood,” he said, “that we also handle research data where companies are involved.”

Eva Stensköld said that a change of attitude is needed in this matter: “Generally speaking, it is not the researchers who own the research data when they are working at a government agency, such as a university—it is the authorities that own the research data.”

Brief presentations of some ongoing initiatives and projects related to research data were held by representatives from the Open Access Program at the National Library of Sweden, the Digital Curation Unit at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and also from Lund University, the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers Library.

Many of the participants requested clear central guidelines from the authorities on how to store data and how to properly make it available.

“However, the guidelines shall not control exactly how and where it shall happen: those matters must be developed in close collaboration with the researchers,” said research engineer Johan Åhlfeldt from Lund University.