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Collaboration essential to meet open data challenges, says new report

By David Ellis March 5, 2024

Tuesday 5 March 2024

A new report – part of The State of Open Data series – provides real-world insights into how the research community is responding to the challenges of data sharing, including support needed for researchers and the importance of building a stronger collaborative approach to open data and research.

From theory to practice: Case studies and commentary from libraries, publishers, funders and industry has been published by Digital Science, Figshare and Springer Nature, following on from the release of their State of Open Data Report 2023 and its key recommendations. 

From theory to practice is the first time in the nine-year history of The State of Open Data that a supplementary publication has expanded upon the main report’s years of survey results about open data, involving tens of thousands of researchers globally.

Each case study and commentary is told from the perspective of a research stakeholder group:

  • Funding bodies: The NIH Generalist Repository Ecosystem Initiative: meeting community needs for FAIR data sharing and discovery
  • Scholarly Publishers: Operationalize data policies through collaborative approaches – the momentum is now
  • University Libraries: One size does not fit all: an investigation into how institutional libraries are tailoring support to their researchers’ needs
  • Industry: How Open Pharma supports responsible data sharing for pharma research publications.

The authors of From theory to practice include representatives from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world – and NIH Office of Data Science Strategy, writing alongside publishers such as Wiley, Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, and STM Publishing Group, academic institutions the University of Oxford, Leeds Beckett University, University of Sheffield, Graz University of Technology, Northwestern University, as well as Oxford PharmaGenesis, and many others.

A key theme of the report is that collaboration is critical to supporting researchers, promoting data sharing and fostering open research. Such an example is the NIH Generalist Repository Ecosystem Initiative (GREI), bringing together generalist data repositories in a kind of “coopetition” but with a consistent, cohesive approach that benefits researchers.

Another collaborative approach is highlighted by Open Pharma – a member-led, non-profit, multi-sponsor collaboration – which states clearly its aim to build even stronger partnerships in the hopes of ensuring that pharma-sponsored published research is transparent, accountable, accessible and discoverable.

Mark Hahnel, VP Open Research at Digital Science and founder of Figshare, says: “By sharing their case studies, the authors of From theory to practice enhance the experience of The State of Open Data 2023’s key findings and recommendations. Here we see how some of those recommendations are being put into practice, and the effort being made to ensure open research has a robust, meaningful, sustainable, and impactful future.”

Graham Smith, Open Data Programme Manager, Springer Nature, says: “The State of Open Data 2023 deliberately took a more analytical approach to the survey data than in previous years. Our new report – From theory to practice – provides essential context from key stakeholder groups within our research community. These case studies are a strong illustration of open research implementation, giving us greater insight into how to best support global researchers in the adoption of open science practice.”

The full report, From theory to practice: Case studies and commentary from libraries, publishers, funders and industry, can be found on Figshare:

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Figshare is a repository solution for institutions. Its infrastructure and global community provide institutions with a platform for their researchers to share and preserve their research outputs – including large datasets – in a findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) way. Complete with altmetrics and citation data, researchers get credit for all their outputs. Figshare is part of Digital Science. Visit  and follow @figshare on X or LinkedIn.

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