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Data – more than the new oil

When I wrote my doctoral thesis, the data that my results were based on were stored in boxes in my office. This included interview data, research diaries, prototypes and photographs from field studies. All in a great big jumble that only I could find things in. If everything had been structured better, in a standardised format, anonymised and cleansed, maybe far more researchers would have wanted to use and cite my research.

The situation is totally different today. In his policy on Open Science launched in 2016, EU Commissioner Carlos Moedas called for academic publications to be readily accessible AND that data sources should be interoperable and reusable. Even today, many universities still do not appreciate how important it is to build structures and tools to collate, store and make accessible research data in a secure, economical and high quality way.

Universities of the future must, to be competitive, offer a digital infrastructure that provides researchers with data processing services.

As a leading university of technology, KTH has many different major data driven research initiatives, the recently established and Wallenberg financed Data-Driven Life Science Initiative, Live-In Lab, ITRL, plus pretty much all the research activities we pursue. Simple and efficient access to such research data is vital for the quality of the research and a necessity today for many of these data intensive research projects.

To be a high quality research institute today, it is recommended that you organise your data in accordance with the FAIR principles, namely that data are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. This also applies to personal data that can be especially sensitive and ethically challenging to process. Every research group and project is often expected to process their data in accordance with these principles for openness today.

The top universities in the world are now making major investments in digital infrastructure for processing research data and an organisation that can offer the support needed. It is now time for KTH to decide whether we want to be among the universities that offer the highest possible quality in their research and to accept the consequences of these aims and invest in digital infrastructure for research.

Four letters and symbols
The principles for Open Science.

Tip of the week:

To support KTH’s development towards becoming a more data driven university, an online course about Open Science and the processing of research data has recently been developed.There are also various resources if you want to learn more about  Open Science. KTH also has a cross-functional team that works with research data at