Yesterday, Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, signed the Sorbonne Declaration on research data rights.
Signing the declaration publicly states the research community’s commitment to sharing data, using FAIR data principles, and recognises the importance of sharing data in solving global concerns – for example, curing diseases, creating renewable energy sources, or understanding climate change. The declaration builds on and complements the Concordat on Open Research Data signed by Universities and funders in 2016, and the final report from the UK’s Open Research Data Task Force published in 2018.
The declaration was also signed by the Association of American Universities, the African Research Universities Alliance, Coordination of French Research-Intensive Universities, the German U15, the League of European Research Universities, Research University 11, The Group of Eight, and the U15 Group of Canadian Research Universities, collectively representing 160 research institutions across Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
In practice, the declaration underscores the commitment of Russell Group members and other similarly positioned research universities to encourage data sharing across institutions and geographical borders – by integrating FAIR data principles into institutional research data policies and supporting researchers in sharing data through training and rewards – which is fairly ubiquitous across similar declarations and documents. However, it also reiterates the need for an interoperable global research data environment which includes instruments and repositories which can work with each other, and asks that funders and governments provide funding and resources to facilitate this, and avoid lock-in to commercial platforms and data services, in the true spirit of ‘openness’.
New decade, new focus, new partnerships, all with an eye on the path for progress.