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December 13, 2011

The research data challenge

Now this is a question that hadn't even crossed my mind. At the end of my project I will have produced a portfolio of work but I will also have quite a bit of data, reports and notes that didn't make it as a submission.

So where does all of this work go?

My background is mechanical design in the defence industry; I'm used to generating a lot of data in the form of concept designs, visit reports/surveys, trade studies, reports/procedures and lots of mechanical/environmental testing. I always knew where to find all of this data - not just the reports and drawings that were published but everything from any project was archived in a project folder - nothing was ever thrown away or considered insignificant. So I am used to storing data in a systematic and logical way.

You can archive your data with the university but who has access to it?

The problem does exist that the data is not truly 'yours' - the university, the sponsor company and any other third party that contributes has a stake in your research and may 'own' your data as Intellectual Property or Proprietary Data that only certain parties have been given permission to view/use.

So how do you then share your data with other researchers?

Not all of your data will be so tied up in political red tape. You just need to be aware of what is sensitive and to discuss dissemination of your research with the relevant stakeholders of your project.

The University/WMG promotes dissemination of research through journal papers, conferences and dedicated dissemination events associated with a particular project. Industry are also keen to show their capabilities to their competitors and collaborators especially if future business can be generated through the exchange of knowlege.

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