Business Models For Sustainable Research Data Repositories

OECD Report: “In 2007, the OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding were published and in the intervening period there has been an increasing emphasis on open science. At the same time, the quantity and breadth of research data has massively expanded. So called “Big Data” is no longer limited to areas such as particle physics and astronomy, but is ubiquitous across almost all fields of research. This is generating exciting new opportunities, but also challenges.

The promise of open research data is that they will not only accelerate scientific discovery and improve reproducibility, but they will also speed up innovation and improve citizen engagement with research. In short, they will benefit society as a whole. However, for the benefits of open science and open research data to be realised, these data need to be carefully and sustainably managed so that they can be understood and used by both present and future generations of researchers.

Data repositories – based in local and national research institutions and international bodies – are where the long-term stewardship of research data takes place and hence they are the foundation of open science. Yet good data stewardship is costly and research budgets are limited. So, the development of sustainable business models for research data repositories needs to be a high priority in all countries. Surprisingly, perhaps, little systematic analysis has been done on income streams, costs, value propositions, and business models for data repositories, and that is the gap this report attempts to address, from a science policy perspective…..

This project was designed to take up the challenge and to contribute to a better understanding of how research data repositories are funded, and what developments are occurring in their funding. Central questions included:

  • How are data repositories currently funded, and what are the key revenue sources?
  • What innovative revenue sources are available to data repositories?
  • How do revenue sources fit together into sustainable business models?
  • What incentives for, and means of, optimising costs are available?
  • What revenue sources and business models are most acceptable to key stakeholders?…(More)”