KU Leuven: KU Leuven resolutely opts for Open Science with Open Data approach

Research data is the precious raw material of many scientific publications. It often takes a lot of time and money to collect, structure and analyze the data. If scientists share that data more with each other, the benefits are enormous.

Making data public not only increases transparency and trust in scientific research. “Open data is essential to enable testing of the reproducibility of research”, says Vice Rector for Research Policy Jan D’hooge. “You can avoid redundancy in the collection of data – and the associated costs – and make maximum use of the available data. With Open Data, you get a more cost-efficient, reliable science. Such an approach is therefore increasingly expected by the financing authorities.”

KU Leuven has long opted for publishing and sharing research data according to the FAIR principle (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). With the new RDR platform (RDR stands for Research Data Repository), the university is taking an important new step in that strategy. Researchers gain access to an archive where data (including documentation, methodological info, protocols, associated code…) is securely stored. Open where possible, closed where necessary: ​​with respect for privacy and the legal framework. The right metadata makes the data findable for fellow researchers all over the world, who can refer to it in publications using a unique digital code. RDR also automatically registers the metadata in Lirias, the academic database of KU Leuven.

Exchanging information is an important foundation of our knowledge economy

“Science is a collective and collaborative process,” says Rector Luc Sels. “Exchanging information is an important foundation of our knowledge economy. With the RDR platform, KU Leuven has resolutely opted for Open Science. It makes our research sustainable and confirms our role as an internationally leading university, which also sets high standards in its research policy.”

The RDR platform is built on Dataverse, open source software developed by Harvard University. The Netherlands built a national platform for research data with Dataverse, and MIT and John Hopkins University in the US also use the software. The application will be further expanded in the coming years, for example with integrations to make the data also findable on other research platforms.

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