Un-FAIR practices: different attitudes to data sharing

Un-FAIR practices: different attitudes to data sharing

© Maximilien Brice/CERN

The sharing of scientific data has gained notoriety in the mainstream media in recent years and is seen as increasingly important, with government-funding organisations placing open data at the heart of scientific policy.

Yet, despite this positive promotion of scientific and economic data, the practices of data sharing and how it should be managed remain unclear and inconsistent, with many researchers keen to receive, but not give, data.

Laia Pujol, a researcher from Esade Business School, and Jonathan Wareham, Professor of Information Systems at Esade, have examined the issues of where and how data are being shared among scientists and discovered that the discipline of the research influences the attitudes towards data sharing and the practices that govern it.

“Researchers are generating unprecedented volumes of data,” Pujol says. “Although some disciplines have a long tradition of working with big data, particularly the big science research infrastructures for physics and astronomy, and sharing it other disciplines have only recently begun to adopt the practice.”

FAIR play

In order to share research data, it needs to be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR). And it’s not just ease of use and good practice that’s taken into consideration when making data accessible; the cost of failing to share research data is estimated to be up to €16bn a year to the European economy.

“The urgency of sharing FAIR data is not only grounded in the ability to reproduce it,” explain the authors. “It’s a recognition of the novel technological and scientific innovations which result from data sharing.”



Founded in 1958, ESADE ranks among the top ten business schools in Europe in the most important International MBA, Executive Education and university programme rankings. ESADE has agreements and works with over 100 universities and business schools worldwide. The school offers doctoral programmes in management studies and conducts cutting-edge research in the fields of Data Science & Market Decisions, Economics & Finance, Entrepreneurship, Globalisation & Geopolitics, Governance, Innovation & Operations, Strategy, Leadership & People Management and Social Innovation.


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