The challenges of data sharing

New Springer Nature report explores attitudes to data sharing.

The new report from Springer Nature reveals strong support for data sharing globally.  It identifies common problems amongst researchers when they endeavour to share their data but also shows variations between nations and disciplines in the proportion of researchers sharing their data.

7,700 researchers were asked about their behaviour and attitude towards data sharing. 

Key findings

  • 76% of researchers rated the importance of making their data discoverable highly
  • When submitting to a journal, 63% of respondents submitted data files as supplementary information, deposited the files in a repository, or did both

Challenges to data sharing identified by respondents

  • Organising data in a presentable and useful way (46%)
  • Unsure about copyright and licensing (37%)
  • Not knowing which repository to use (33%)
  • Lack of time to deposit data (26%)
  • Costs of sharing data (19%)

Differences between disciplines

  • Biological sciences had the highest proportion of respondents who shared data relating to publications (75%) followed by the Earth sciences (68%), medical sciences (61%), and physical sciences (59%)
  • Medical science researchers reported their biggest challenge was a lack of clarity about copyright and licensing (44%)
  • Only 54% of respondents who produced specific biological and medical data (e.g. DNA and RNA sequences), where dedicated repositories exist, were using these repositories.

Differences between nations

The proportion of respondents stating that they share data when submitting a manuscript ranged from 76% (Poland); 75% (Germany); 55% (USA) and 50% (Canada). 


  • Provide greater support and education on good data management for researchers, particularly for those at the early stages of their career
  • Faster, easier routes to sharing data by developing and providing readily available solutions to organise and share data. 
The White Paper is available here.