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National strategy on access to and sharing of research data

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3 Basic principles

This strategy sets out the following three basic principles for publicly funded research data in Norway:

Basic principle 1: Research data must be as open as possible, as closed as necessary. When no legitimate considerations prevent it, research data must be made openly accessible. Considerations relating to security, protection of personal privacy, intellectual property rights, trade secrets, etc., will entail in some cases that research data cannot be made fully openly accessible. Some of this research data may nonetheless be made accessible to specific users accord­ing to defined access criteria. The need for restrictions may also change over time, allowing the data to be made accessible at a later point.

Basic principle 2: Research data should be managed and curated to take full advantage of their potential. Research data must be adapted for search­ability and retrieval and, when relevant, structured for genuine reusability. This means, among other things, that the data must be equipped with reliable metadata and published under a license that clearly specifies how the data can be used. Access to research data must be provided at the lowest possible cost and under the same terms for all user groups fulfilling the criteria for access.

Basic principle 3: Decisions concerning archiving and management of ­research data must be taken within the research community. Researchers are part of a wider community – locally together with the heads of their institutions, nation­ally and internationally – where good research practice, including data sharing, is constantly evolving. Preparing research data for reuse is resource-­intensive, so it is important to conduct suitable cost-benefit analyses on which data will generate sufficient added value to justify use of the necessary resources. The authorities cannot issue guidelines for which data to archive and the extent to which such data are to be adapted for reuse. Assessments and ­decisions of this type must be taken by those most directly responsible for the data. However, there is little doubt that making research data accessible for reuse will also benefit the government administration and the business sector greatly. Research groups must keep this in mind when weighing the costs of organising reusable data against the benefits.