The Research Data Exchange is a solution to what Frans Oort calls the open science dilemma. Oort is the open science coordinator of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and director of the Research Institute of Child Development and Education. “The dilemma, on the one hand, it that as a university you want to share as much data as possible. To promote the progress of science, to be transparent and enable replication or new analyses. Also, as scientific research is financed with public money, results should be publicly owned. On the other hand, it is important to keep control over your own data. This entails legal problems regarding ownership and copyright, confidentiality of personal data, restrictions on ‘informed consent’ of the research participants, purpose limitation, a ban on ‘dual use’ and prohibition on resale. All this to prevent commercial companies in building a service with the university’s data, only to find later on you’ll have to pay for the service these data helped create.”
ICT cooperative SURF and the UvA are currently working with other interested universities on a first version of an RDX. Researchers will soon be able to publish a description of their research data and determine the conditions under which another party may use that data. If, after reading the description, someone wants to use the data for their own research or new analyses, there is a link to the Research Data Exchange (RDX). There, the interested party can sign a digital contract, which grants access to the data under the specified conditions. Initially, the possibilities of the pilot version of the RDX are still limited. At a later stage, the technology behind RDX will also enforce the contract.