Research Data

Publishing of research data as open as possible, as closed as needed is the policy of WUR. This comes with copyright related questions.

What are research data?

The recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings. Data is defined as “a set of values of qualitative or quantitative variables that can be measured, collected and reported, and analyzed” (from glossary LCRDM).

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What is a dataset?

A data set is a collection of data files that originate from the same project and/or cover the same thematic subject.
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Who owns the research data that I create?

Data ownership is a complicated issue because it deals with legal rights and contractual agreements.

Elements to be considered:

  1. Data that is factual has no copyright protection. Most research data is factual.
  2. Copyright at the item level is limited to items that meet the threshold for copyright protection (see question: What is copyright and what is protected?).
  3. A database can be copyright protected, if such database, by reason of the selection or by arrangement of its contents, constitutes the author’s own, sufficiently original, intellectual creation (see question: What can I do with my copyright?).
  4. Databases can also be protected by a sui generis database right, if substantial qualitative or quantitative investments have been made in obtaining, verifying or presenting the contents of the database concerned. A database right gives the database’s creator the right to prevent extraction and/or re-utilization of the whole or a substantial part of that database’s contents.
  5. Copyright within a dataset involves elements, such as annotations, visualizations, and metadata that are part of a dataset and meet the threshold for copyright protection (see question: What is copyright and what is protected?).
  6. Even if a dataset is not protected by an intellectual property right, agreements can be made as to the use thereof, for instance, confidentiality. In contrast to the rights associated with intellectual property rights, such abovementioned agreements involve only the party with whom such an agreement was made.
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What is research data management?

Research Data Management covers the organization, structure, storage, and legal care of data used or generated during a research project. Follow this link for more information about research data management.
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Does WUR have a research data ownership policy?

Wageningen University & Research has a policy on ownership of research data. In this policy WUR has access to and control over research data created by its employees, and (when needed and possible) other persons involved in WUR research such as PhD candidates, students, and visiting staff members. For more information, visit the page Data ownership from the WDCC.

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What are WUR's rules for (re)using and sharing research data?

Three main levels of openness are considered in data sharing: Open, Restricted, and Closed. The WUR’s policy is to be “as open as possible and as closed as necessary”. Conditions related to the use of source data, privacy regulations, funding conditions and whether or not WUR has a commercial or strategic interest to restrict access determine whether or not data are shared open.
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How can I publish my data?

Publishing research data in a data repository supports data reuse and verifiability, and increases research impact. If a service for publishing research data is embedded in the submission workflow of a journal to which you want to submit your article, it may be convenient to choose that service. If your field of research has a disciplinary service that can accommodate your data, that should be your first choice. In addition to domain specific repositories, you can publish and register your datasets at certificated data repositories. For more information, visit the page Publishing your dataset in a repository on the WDCC website.
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Are text and datamining (or scrapping) allowed under copyright law?

WUR has the right to use automated analytical techniques to analyse digital texts and research data if the gathered data is used for research. Such research has to be focused on the generation of patterns, trends and correlations that will help, for example, to train or to develop AI or models.

The AI or models can be published, but the researcher may not publish or distribute the information retrieved with text and data mining (TDM), such as complete scientific articles or their abstracts. However, other metadata can be published.

TDM usually consists of four stages:

  1. Identifying and retrieving data.
  2. Converting the data to a machine-readable format.
  3. Extracting the information from the data.
  4. Using the information in the research.

This TDM-right is limited to research data to which WUR has lawful access. TDM-arrangements are increasingly included in inter-university agreements with large data providers, such as publishers. The research data that is retrieved and stored needs to be subject to appropriate security measures and cannot be stored longer than necessary.

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Last updated on 04/01/2022.