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Open research data improves trust in science

Aalto University supports the openness and good management of research material.

Aalto University has confirmed a research data management policy, which defines the principles used in the opening of publicly funded scientific research data. The goal is to make the material compatible as well as easy to find, reach and understand.

– Openness is an integral part of science and research. Open research data enhances the use of scientific information in society and in the creation of innovation. Properly managed research material is an important part of a high-quality research project, and openly available research data also increases research reliability, says Tuija Pulkkinen, Vice President of Aalto University.

Openness is a growing trend

Open science is a widespread, international practice, in which scientists release their research data and scientific publications openly to the public and submit their research process to public comment. Among others, the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme outlines that all scientific, peer-reviewed publications under its funding must be made open, and that projects receiving funding may participate in its open research data pilot. The Academy of Finland encourages scientists to open their research material to the public.

Samuli Ollila is a researcher at the Aalto University Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering. He has developed an Open Collaboration method that makes all of a project’s information publically available.
– Open research data can improve the quality of research. Other scientists can look at the material, comment on possible errors and propose improvements. It is, then, significantly easier to assess the credibility of the results. Often, the research data itself is more useful than the results alone, which extends the influence of the work, Ollila clarifies.

The goal is to make opening the data and data management as easy as possible for Aalto University researchers. The metadata catalogue and the digital infrastructure will be implemented in cooperation with national and international actors, such as CSC – IT Centre for Science and European research data service provider EUDAT. 

It is also stated in the data management policy that long-term preservation of research data must be implemented securely and that certified repositories must be used for the preservation.
– Along with the research data, it is also important to save the metadata and documentation, which enables more extensive use of the research data, emphasises Tuija Pulkkinen.

Research data refers to the digital research materials produced, used and revised in research projects, such as measurements, statistics and survey material. It is not always possible to open the research data, or its openness can be restricted, in case of, for example, a possible breach of privacy or information security.

Open science event in Otaniemi, 8 April

The Aalto University is holding a session Open data and open access publishing on 8 April in Otaniemi. The topics include the procedures of open science and especially the use of open research material. 

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Aalto University Research Data Management Policy

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