“This Dear Colleague Letter describes and encourages effective practices for publicly sharing research data, including the use of persistent digital identifiers (PDIs).
Datasets underpinning published research findings are expected to be shared with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time. Data-sharing holds numerous benefits, from enabling broader research collaboration, through facilitating transparency and solidifying confidence in scientific research, to providing increased resources for teaching and education purposes. Recent studies found that research articles containing a link to data in a repository have markedly higher usage and visibility. Discoverable and citable data also serve to reduce barriers to entry for junior researchers, scientists in under-served communities, and researchers from underrepresented and minority groups, thus enabling improved implementation of open science principles.
The nature of digital data produced during research may vary among the different topical disciplines encompassed by the field of Materials Research. Most often, digital research data comprise one or more of the following: raw data files collected using experimental instrumentation and converted into digital format; digital files of processed experimental data; video and animation files; numerical data produced by computer simulations or computational models; computer code, scripts, software, software documentation and user manuals developed as part of the research project; digital files of theoretical models, protocols, and methods; educational, instructional, and training materials.
Open-access data sharing platforms (data repositories) comprise the most efficient way to publish and share research data1. Moreover, as long-term data curation and preservation are core to their mission, data repositories provide a stable means for data preservation. Upon publication of a dataset, most repositories automatically generate a citation for the data, which includes identifying metadata such as the archiving repository, the data’s author(s), and a PDI such as a digital object identifier (DOI). A DOI is a unique and persistent digital identifier, which, when assigned to a digital entity such as a dataset, remains unchanged over the lifetime of the object. Having a DOI (or other form of PDI) from an open-access repository renders data findable, accessible, and readily citable. Searchable global registries of data repositories provide information on indexed repositories to help researchers identify the most appropriate ones2. In the case where a suitable repository is not available, researchers are strongly encouraged to use their institutional digital repositories, which typically issue DOIs to institutionally hosted content….”