A beginner’s guide to data stewardship and data sharing | Spinal Cord

Abstract:  Study design

A narrative review of principles, benefits and disadvantages, as well as methods of research data sharing.


To assist prospective Spinal Cord authors and others with understanding and implementing data sharing, so that various benefits of such sharing can accrue to all spinal cord injury research stakeholders….


The medical research and health care services literature was reviewed nonsystematically for relevant articles, and web sites were explored for information and services offered by various pertinent organizations.


Grant makers, professional organizations, research journals, publishers, and other entities in the research field increasingly stress the ethics as well as societal and practical benefits of data sharing, and require researchers to do so within a reasonable time after data collection ends. Sharing data, retrospectively, generally requires much time and resources, but when a data management plan is part of a research proposal from the start, costs are limited, and grant makers allow these costs to be part of a budget. There are many organizations that offer information on or even assist with preparing data for sharing and actual deposit in a data repository.


The requirement of data sharing is not likely to go away, and researchers interested in submitting their reports to Spinal Cord would do well to familiarize themselves with the myriad practical issues involved in preparing data for sharing.