Identifying the most important facilitators of open research data sharing and reuse in Epidemiology: A mixed-methods study

A.M.G. Zuiderwijk-van Eijk, Berkay Onur Türk

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Abstract

To understand how open research data sharing and reuse can be further improved in the field of Epidemiology, this study explores the facilitating role that infrastructural and institutional arrangements play in this research discipline. It addresses two research questions: 1) What influence do infrastructural and institutional arrangements have on open research data sharing and reuse practices in the field of Epidemiology? And 2) how could infrastructural and institutional instruments used in Epidemiology potentially be useful to other research disciplines? First, based on a systematic literature review, a conceptual framework of infrastructural and institutional instruments for open research data facilitation is developed. Second, the conceptual framework is applied in interviews with Epidemiology researchers. The interviews show that two infrastructural and institutional instruments have a very high influence on open research data sharing and reuse practices in the field of Epidemiology, namely (a) access to a powerful search engine that meets open data search needs and (b) support by data stewards and data managers. Third, infrastructural and institutional instruments with a medium, high, or very high influence were discussed in a research workshop involving data stewards and research data officers from different research fields. This workshop suggests that none of the influential instruments identified in the interviews are specific to Epidemiology. Some of our findings thus seem to apply to multiple other disciplines. This study contributes to Science by identifying field-specific facilitators and challenges for open research data in Epidemiology, while at the same time revealing that none of the identified influential infrastructural and institutional instruments were specific to this field. Practically, this implies that open data infrastructure developers, policymakers, and research funding organizations may apply certain infrastructural and institutional arrangements to multiple research disciplines to facilitate and enhance open research data sharing and reuse.
Original languageEnglish
Article number297969
Pages (from-to)1-31
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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