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National strategy on access to and sharing of research data

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4 Government expectations and measures

Change in culture, incentives and competence

If researchers are to succeed in increasing access to and sharing research data, effective support services, information, training and incentives must be introduced to remove some of the barriers. To support a desired change towards giving greater recognition and credit to data management and curation activ­ities in connection with applications for research funding and positions, steps must be taken to make data sets citable and work with research data more visible.

The Government expects:

  • the research institutions to work to raise the competency of their staff and students by providing training in data management and reuse of data;
  • the research institutions to consider taking part in national and Nordic ­cooperation with a view to establishing educational programmes for research data management and stewardship (core data experts and the like).

The Government will:

  • ask the new agency for higher education and research services to disseminate information on current requirements, regulatory frameworks and resources related to the management of research data;
  • assign the new agency for higher education and research services the respons­ibility for coordinating efforts to assess how national research data archives can best provide researchers and students with training in their respective services;
  • ask the new agency for higher education and research services to establish a foundation for citation of data sets and crediting of data work by issuing permanent digital object identifiers (DOI) and digital researcher IDs (ORCID);
  • ask the new agency for higher education and research services to compile statistics that clearly display the establishment and reuse of research data.

Stipulations to draw up data management plans

Researchers are facing stricter requirements and greater expectations concerning research data management from scientific journals, research funders and their own institutions. As from 2017, open access to research data and stipulations to draw up data management plans have been made stand­ard require­ments under the EU Framework Programme for Research and ­Innovation, Horizon 2020. In its updated policy for open access to research data, the ­Research Council of Norway requires projects that generate data to provide data management plans at the contract phase. The individual ­research institutions will need to have good procedures and guidelines in place to meet these requirements.

The Government expects:

  • the research institutions to develop procedures for (i) approving data management plans and (ii) determining whether a given research project is of a type for which an individual data management plan is not necessary or suit­able.

The Government will:

  • ask the Research Council of Norway to widely publicise its requirement regard­ing provision of a data management plan approved by the research institution at the time a contract is signed, when this is relevant;
  • ask the Research Council of Norway to continue to play an active national and international role in promoting access to and reuse of research data;
  • ask the research institutions to draw up guidelines on research data that are to be stored, made accessible and adapted for access and to indicate which solutions should be implemented for management of different data sets;
  • ask the new agency for higher education and research services to help providers of national research data archive services to align their efforts and, in cooperation with the research institutions, to work to develop solutions for data management plans that are as compatible as possible and comply with international standards.

Better technical adaptation and better national coordination between subject fields

There is a need for greater coordination among providers of national ­research data archives to ensure that their services are more easily navigable for users. A consolidated overview of information about Norwegian researchers’ publications and data sets should be available. Ensuring that research data are retriev­able and reusable across different ICT systems will require better technical adaptation and reliable metadata that comply with international standards.

The Government expects:

  • research institutions, administrators of research data infrastructure and research­ers to work towards standardisation and harmonisation that ­facilitate sharing and reuse of data in accordance with international standards and best practice in different subject areas (for example, by establishing national, subject field-based communication arenas).

The Government will:

  • ask the new agency for higher education and research services to help to design information about national research data archives and services to present these services as an easily navigable whole that is openly accessible to all researchers and research-performing institutions;
  • ask the new agency for higher education and research services to take respons­ibility for drawing up a report on how to implement a national knowledge repository.

Sustainable funding and operation of national research data infrastructure and research data archives

There are a number of potential funding sources for infrastructure for storing and providing access to research data. However, it is not always clear which funding model will be most effective in ensuring long-term, sustainable oper­ations in each individual case. In addition to dedicated funding instruments for ­establishing infrastructure, there is a need for knowledge on how various revenues and costs associated with working with research data can be com­bined in effective, sustainable business models.

The Government expects:

  • the development of self-service solutions, when feasible, to reduce the costs of operating research data infrastructure by simplifying processes for depos­iting and accessing research data and metadata.

The Government will:

  • continue the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure;
  • ask the Research Council of Norway, in cooperation with the new agency for higher education and research services and representatives of the research institutions, to draw up a report and provide advice on sustainable business models for the operation of research data infrastructures and research data archives.

Better framework for the use of public data in research

Data sets such as different types of registry data generated by different public actors may be highly relevant to research. Some of these data sets are open and easily accessible to researchers whereas access to other data sets may be restricted for a variety of reasons. This may be due to technical limitations, data that contain information requiring complete or partial restriction, or costs ­related to further processing of the data before they can be opened to access. It is an important goal to make it easier for researchers to gain access to this type of data.

The Government will:

  • ask public actors to facilitate the reuse of data for research, innovation and value creation when upgrading and developing data storage systems;
  • emphasise access to data for research in efforts involving relevant changes in the statutory framework.

Better interplay between public data and research data

Archived, retrievable research data represent a wealth of information that can enhance public administration and thereby generate better services for society. There is a need for broader national coordination to ensure that archive-worthy research data are stored and managed in a manner that maximises the potential benefits to public administration. This will require dialogue between ­researchers, representatives of the public administration and owners and operators of ­national infrastructures for the storage of both research and public data.

The Government will:

  • consider whether to establish a national forum for the reuse of research data comprising representatives of relevant public sector entities in order to obtain advice on questions concerning coordination, data quality, access control, routines and the funding of national data infrastructure to serve ­researchers, public administrators, trade and industry and the population at large.

Easier access to data for research purposes from Statistics Norway

One of the tasks of Statistics Norway is to provide information for statistical analysis for research purposes within the framework of protection of personal privacy, statistical confidentiality and other factors. Data from Statistics Norway are used in numerous research projects. It is an objective of this strategy to facilitate access to data for research purposes from Statistics Norway.

The Government expects:

  • the research institutions to improve competency in requesting data from ­Statistics Norway among their own researchers and support personnel.

The Government will:

  • examine potential funding models for access to data for research purposes from Statistics Norway that satisfy considerations relating both to efficient use of resources for data access and to the societal benefits of research;
  • support training measures for researchers and support personnel under the direction of Statistics Norway;
  • consider proposals from the committee reviewing the statistics act and input from the consultative review process with the aim of improving researchers’ access to data from Statistics Norway.

Easier, more secure access to health data

Norway has an extensive knowledge base of various types of health data ­compiled over a long time span through activities carried out by its national health services, among others. The Government’s action plan on the follow-up of the Health&Care21 strategy attaches importance to making health data more ­accessible for research purposes. The health data committee was appointed to provide recommendations for a better, more efficient system for pro­cessing health data for statistics, planning, health analyses, quality improvement, ­research, innovation and business development. The committee recom­mended specific measures to make access to health data simpler and more secure.

The Government expects:

  • those responsible for health registry data management and Statistics ­Norway to work via the Health Data Programme to facilitate a greater degree of secure, effective data analysis across data sources.

The Government will:

  • consider the proposals from the health data committee and input from the consultative review process with a view to establishing a simpler, more secure system for access to health data;
  • consider instituting a platform for health analyses, cf. the report commissioned from the Norwegian Directorate of eHealth on the establishment of such a platform.
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