Sharing and re-using open data: A case study of motivations in astrophysics

Anneke Zuiderwijk*, Helen Spiers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
124 Downloads (Pure)


Open data sharing and re-use is currently more common in some academic disciplines than others. Although each discipline has unique challenges and characteristics which can influence data sharing and re-use behavior, it may be possible to gain transferable insight from disciplines where these practices are more common. Several studies of the motivations underlying data sharing and re-use have been conducted, however these studies often remain at a high level of abstraction rather than providing in-depth insight about discipline-specific challenges and opportunities. This study sought to provide in-depth insight about the complex interaction of factors influencing motivations for sharing and re-using open research data within a single discipline, namely astrophysics. We focused on this discipline due to its well-developed tradition of free and open access to research data. Eight factors were found to influence researchers’ motivations for sharing data openly, including the researcher's background, personal drivers, experience, legislation, regulation and policy, data characteristics, performance expectancy, usability, and collaboration. We identified six factors that influence researchers’ motivations to re-use open research data, including the researcher's background, facilitating conditions, expected performance, social and affiliation factors, effort and experience. Finally, we discuss how data sharing and re-use can be encouraged within the context of astrophysics research, and we discuss how these insights may be transferred to disciplines with low rates of data sharing and re-use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-241
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Information Management
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Astrophysics
  • Interview analysis
  • Motivation
  • Open data
  • Open science
  • Qualitative research


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