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Researchers and their data in Austria: survey results report 2015

Researchers and their data in Austria: survey results report 2015
At the beginning of 2015 an Austria-wide survey was conducted, directed at the academic personnel of 24 universities and research institutions affiliated with the e-infrastructures Austria project. This survey aimed to gather information about how Austrian researchers deal with their data on an institutional, as well as a disciplinary level. This study is the first attempt on a national level in Austria to find out how academics work with data and how institutions and disciplines influence data usage and handling. The results will help to provide institutions with information about how to facilitate their researchers’ data needs by providing them with necessary infrastructure and enable repository managers to set up tools not only for research data storage but also for reusability. This paper is also highly relevant in the broader context of the European Commission’s Open Data Pilot and Open Science more generally.

The topics of the survey were:
- Data types and formats;
- Data archiving, backup and loss;
- Ethical and legal aspects;
- Accessibility and subsequent use;
- Infrastructure and services.
The most significant results:The majority of Austrian researchers generate their research data in unstructured text files, graphics and tables. Three quarters of their research data volume is produced in digital form. Most of the participants use multiple storage options with a clear preference to business and private computers, as well as external hard drives and USB drives. For their research a memory capacity of up to 100 GB per year is needed, although higher amounts are used by medical and artistic universities. Two thirds of the responding researchers describe their data individually and inconsistently. Data loss was experienced by more than one third. Half of the researchers transfer their data to their new affiliated institutions, so in many cases the data remains at the original institution. External data is seen as very important for researchers’ own research. Access to self-generated research data by third parties is usually allowed by researchers to a limited degree. Slightly more than half of the respondents allow access only on request.

Austria’s researchers and their Data“Austria’s researchers and their Data”; http://phaidra.univie.ac.at/o:409452

The authors have formulated some recommendations based on the survey results:
  • Creation of a comprehensive, technological data infrastructure in Austria, including specific disciplinary needs.
  • Adoption of institutional policies.
  • Hiring of information professionals.
  • Implementation of support services for researchers.
  • Implementation of appropriate incentive systems.
  • Encouragement of international and interdisciplinary cooperation
About the e-infrastructures Austria project
austria_einfrastructures200The aim of this three-year partnership project funded by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economics (BMWFW), is to coordinate the establishment and development of Repository Infrastructures for digital resources in research and science throughout Austria. Therefore, a Network of Knowledge and Expertise will be established that supports and assists institutions in the fields of Open Science and Scientific Communication and to promote the exchange of experiences on technical, organisational, legal, and content related issues between the Libraries, IT services and researchers.
The full report with interpretation words, graphs and statistics:

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.34005. and/or at: https://phaidra.univie.ac.at/o:409318
An Executive Summery is also available at PHAIDRA:

All links to English and German versions as well as to additional materials are provided at:

For a print version please contact:


Post by Anna-Leatitia Hikl and Gerda McNeill

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