Research Data Management (RDM) and sharing are central to scientific integrity and reproducibility. They are also integral to the ethos of open science, which emphasizes transparency, access, and reuse of scientific research. This principle is at the heart of many European projects, where RDM and data sharing are not only considered best practices, but often are mandated by funding bodies such as the European Commission (EC) under the Horizon Europe Programme. RDM involves the organization, storage, preservation, and sharing of data collected and used during research projects. Good RDM practices ensure that data are reliable, secure, and accessible, enhancing the credibility of the research. Sharing research data, on the other hand, opens up new opportunities for collaboration, verification of results, and potential new discoveries from reusing data.
One of the key elements in European projects is the requirement for a Data Management Plan (DMP). The DMP is a document outlining how research data will be handled during a research project, and after it is completed. It describes the data that will be collected or created, the methodologies and standards that will be applied, plans for data sharing and preservation, and how data will comply with the FAIR principles.
In the context of European projects, the EC has developed a set of guidelines and expectations regarding RDM and sharing, embodied in the concept of FAIR data - data that are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. The EC encourages beneficiaries of Horizon Europe funding to make their research data 'as open as possible, as closed as necessary, promoting an open science culture while respecting privacy, security, and intellectual property rights.
Sharing data in the European context also involves navigating the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This means ensuring that any data shared has been de-identified or anonymized to protect individual privacy, or that informed consent for data sharing has been obtained. Moreover, data sharing across borders requires careful attention to data transfer rules.
Effective RDM and data sharing are becoming increasingly vital in the landscape of European research projects. These practices are necessary for meeting the demands of funding bodies, promoting open science, ensuring the integrity of research, and complying with data protection regulations. As such, researchers involved in European projects must be proficient in these aspects, and institutions need to provide adequate support and training to foster a culture of good data stewardship.
The Webinar “Research Data Management and Sharing” organized by BioIRC on May 10th comprehensively covered the topic from basics of RDM to practical examples of how biomedical data is protected and managed in EU funded projects implemented at BioIRC and University of Kragujevac. The speakers were Prof. Dr. Nenad Filipović and several senior research associates from BioIRC.