Multi-scale Data Sharing in the Life Sciences: Some Lessons for Policy Makers
AbstractDrawing on the final report on a recent series of case studies in the life sciences at the University of Edinburgh, this paper explores the attitudes and perceptions of researchers towards data sharing and contrasts these with the policies of the major research funders. Notwithstanding economic, technical and cultural inhibitors, the general ethos in the Life Sciences is one of support to the principle of data sharing. However, this position is subject to a complex range of qualifications, not least the crucial need for sharing through collaboration. The kind of generic vision for data sharing that is currently promoted by national agencies is judged to be neither productive nor effective. Only close engagement with research practitioners in the identification of bottom-up strategies that preserve the exercise of informed choice - a fundamental and persistent element of scientific research - will produce change on a national scale.
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