With a new platform for archiving and publishing research data, Research Data Repository (RDR), KU Leuven is making it possible for researchers to keep their data safe for years while making it accessible to fellow researchers worldwide.
Research data is the precious raw material of many scientific publications. It often takes a lot of time and money to collect, structure and analyse the data. If scientists share that data with each other more, the benefits are enormous.
Making data public not only increases transparency and trust in scientific research. “Open Data is essential to enable the testing of reproducibility of research,” says Vice Rector for Research Policy Jan D'hooge. “It allows you to avoid redundancy in data collection – and the associated costs – and to maximise the exploitation of the available data. Open Data gives you more cost-effective, reliable science. Such an approach is therefore increasingly expected by funding authorities.”
KU Leuven has long opted to publish and share research data according to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). With the new Research Data Repository (RDR) platform, the university is taking an important new step in that strategy. Researchers are given access to an archive where data (including documentation, methodological info, protocols and associated code) is securely stored. Open where possible, closed where necessary: thus respecting privacy and the legal framework. The right metadata makes the data discoverable by fellow researchers around the world, who can refer to it in publications with a unique digital code.
“Science is a collective and collaborative process,” says Rector Luc Sels. “Exchanging information is an important foundation of our knowledge economy. With the RDR platform, KU Leuven is resolutely opting for Open Science. It makes our research sustainable and confirms our role as an internationally leading university, which also sets the bar high in its research policy.”
The RDR platform is built on Dataverse, open source software developed by Harvard University. The Netherlands built a national platform for research data with Dataverse, and MIT and John Hopkins University in the US use the software too. The application will be further developed in the coming years, for example with integrations to make the data findable on other research platforms as well.
This article was first published on 21 January by KU Leuven.