Giving Researchers Credit for their Data Project

Jisc’s Research Data Spring funding strand aims “to find new technical tools, software and service solutions, which will improve researchers’ workflows and the use and management of their data” (RDS website).

Giving Researchers Credit for their Data is now in its second – development – phase as part of the #dataspring stable. The team of stakeholders (publishers, data repository managers, coders) are developing a simple ‘one-click’ process where data, metadata and methods detail are transferred from a data repository (via an API and a helper app) to a relevant publisher platform for publication as a data paper.

In turn, this can be peer reviewed, indexed to increase visibility, and recognised by the community as a formal research output. Subsequently, details of the paper can be fed back to the repository to enrich the original record.

Researchers have too much to do, and too much of their work goes unrecognised. Tools like this will help to take the friction out of their daily lives and help them to share, improve and get credit for their work. It blends the best of recent innovations with “traditional”, collegiate academic culture.” Josh Brown, ORCID

While funders are becoming more interested in good data preservation and management practice amongst funded researchers at the same time, institutions are increasingly developing IRs (institutional repositories) to hold the data outputs of their researchers, helping to reduce the individual burden of data archiving. However, only a subset of the data produced is associated with publications and thus reliably archived, and much important data is never published, shared or re-used. This represents a loss of scientific knowledge, may lead to the repetition of research and wastes public money. Currently, it can be laborious for time-poor researchers to fully describe their data via an associated article to make it as useful as possible to others, and there is little incentive for them to do so. The redundancy of filling out two submission forms, for the repository and the journal, makes things even lengthier. This project aims to make the process of associating data with a detailed description easier for researchers, and get extra credit in the process (via a data or research article citation).

Having proved the need for the concept in Phase I, the Project Team, led by Lucie Burgess and Neil Jefferies of The Bodleian Libraries, and Thomas Ingraham of F1000Research is now getting technical. The stakeholder team recently met in London to test the draft specification, and build the – open source – draft API and helper app. The draft specification can be found here; please get in touch with me at if you would like to give any feedback.

In keeping with the light, open structure of the whole project structure, we would also love to hear from any interested parties who would like to be part of the consultation/testing or communication processes. As well as posting on the Bodleian and F1000Research blog sites, we’ll be tweeting our progress and over the coming months we’ll be attending various meetings. If you’d like to connect please get in touch via twitter @DrFionaLM’

hannah read