Did we share more data during Open Access Week?

To celebrate Open Access Week, 19– 25 October, data.ncl through Figshare ran a competition to encourage data to be uploaded and shared. We promoted Open Access Week on this blog, NUConnect, social media and in schools to help promote data.ncl and the merits of data sharing.

Anil Yildiz, Research Associate, in the School of Engineering has long embraced open data and has shared several datasets and supporting scripts from his research projects in data.ncl. The idea of a competition piqued his interest as an incentive for researchers to share data but also switched on his inquisitive nature as he wondered if it leads to an increase in uploads.

Figshare has an API that allows anyone to access a wide range of data and after we chatted Anil took an interest in the following four item types: figures; media; dataset; and software. He ran a query through the API between 06/07/2020 and 26/10/2020 on those four item types.

Number of figures, media, datasets and software uploaded to Figshare between 06/07/2020 and 26/07/2020

The graph above shows that the variation in uploads is not significant between the weeks examined but there were slight increases in media and software during open access week. Taking a deeper look into when these items are uploaded it indicated that Thursday are the most common day for researchers to archive and share data. And unsurprisingly weekends were found to be the quietest days.   


Open Access Week 2020 didn’t result in an upload frenzy. However, the sharing of these four item types is consistent across the timeframe analysed and Figshare is one of many data repositories that researchers can use to openly share their data. The bigger picture is that open research data is of growing importance as we look to increase transparency, reproducibility and reuse of data produced by our researchers. Data.ncl can archive all four item types and we are keen to see an increase in these deposits across all research data repositories. When data is archived elsewhere you can create a record of it in data.ncl to help increase the impact and visibility of the data.

At Newcastle this is the first time we have promoted the competition so it will take time for Open Access Week and data sharing to be on the radar of our researchers. It is interesting that Thursday is a particularly popular day to share data so perhaps we need a Thor inspired sharing initiative – data sharers assemble, anyone?

This blog was written in collaboration with Anil and his original blog Open Access Data: What do we Share can be found here: https://www.anilyildiz.info/blog/2020-10-26-blog-8. And a review of the data findings is available on data.ncl.

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I promote and support research data management and open research data at Newcastle University as part of the Library Research Services team. I have previously worked as a researcher (transport) and in a research communication role within higher education.

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