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On the Reuse of Scientific Data
Data Science Journal (2017)
  • Irene V. Pasquetto, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Bernadette M. Randles, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Christine L Borgman
While science policy promotes data sharing and open data, these are not ends in themselves. Arguments for data sharing are to reproduce research, to make public assets available to the public, to leverage investments in research, and to advance research and innovation. To achieve these expected benefits of data sharing, data must actually be reused by others. Data sharing practices, especially motivations and incentives, have received far more study than has data reuse, perhaps because of the array of contested concepts on which reuse rests and the disparate contexts in which it occurs. Here we explicate concepts of data, sharing, and open data as a means to examine data reuse. We explore distinctions between use and reuse of data. Lastly we propose six research questions on data reuse worthy of pursuit by the community: How can uses of data be distinguished from reuses? When is reproducibility an essential goal? When is data integration an essential goal? What are the tradeoffs between collecting new data and reusing existing data? How do motivations for data collection influence the ability to reuse data? How do standards and formats for data release influence reuse opportunities? We conclude by summarizing the implications of these questions for science policy and for investments in data reuse.

  • Data Reuse,
  • Open Data,
  • Science Policy,
  • Knowledge Infrastructures
Publication Date
March 22, 2017
Publisher Statement
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (unless stated otherwise) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

Citation Information
Pasquetto, I.V., Randles, B.M. & Borgman, C.L., (2017). On the Reuse of Scientific Data. Data Science Journal. 16, p.8. DOI:
Creative Commons license
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons CC_BY International License.