NHMRC Statement on Data Sharing
The underlying principles are as follows:
- NHMRC strongly encourages researchers to take reasonable steps to share research data, stating it will help to increase reuse of data, improve research integrity, and contribute to a stronger knowledge economy.
- Researchers must fulfill all the responsibilities outlined in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2018); Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders (2018) and Keeping research on track II (2018)
- The NHMRC supports the overall intent of the F.A.I.R. Access to Australia’s Research Statement through which data/information are made findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.
- While the NHMRC does not currently require a data management plan, they state it will ensure that the data generated from the research are well managed and able to be reused efficiently. A plan should include collection, curation, quality assurance, storage, preservation and dissemination.
- The NHMRC also strongly encourages researchers to share associated metadata (descriptive records), described as "underlying information that describes other data. It generally helps the user to understand what the data are, where they can be found and how they can be used"
- When sharing research data, researchers must also consider the appropriate level of access that they would like to provide to users. The level of access may range from highly restricted (e.g. commercial in confidence, patient level, culturally sensitive, national security) to fully open access.
- Sensitive data can be shared if they are treated in the appropriate manner through de identification, licensing or gaining the necessary consent.NHMRC encourages researchers to use the broadest consent that appropriately considers the codes, laws, ethics and cultural sensitivities.
- NHMRC encourages researchers to share clinical trial data and associated metadata as soon as possible after publication provided that all ethical, regulatory and legal obligations are fulfilled.
- The ‘NHMRC Principles for Accessing and Using Publicly Funded Data for Health Research’ provide a framework for researchers and data custodians to consider when requests or applications are made for access to existing publicly funded datasets for the purposes of research.
NHMRC Research Data Lifecycle
Figure 1. Research data lifecycle. Reprinted from Open Access Policy - Further Guidance by National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Retrieved January 7, 2019, from https://nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/open-access-policy.