Endangered large

Data sets produced in the course of research and shared informally between researchers such as by posting to a website or portal but without preservation capability or commitment. Typically the data remains in the hands of the researchers who have the job of maintaining it.

Group: Research Outputs

Trend: New Entry

Consensus Decision

Added to List: 2019

Last update: New Entry

Previous category: New Entry

Imminence of Action

Action is recommended within five years, detailed assessment within three years.

Significance of Loss

The loss of tools, data or services within this group would impact on people and sectors around the world.

Effort to Preserve

It would require a major effort to prevent losses in this group, such as the development of new preservation tools or techniques.


Departmental webservers; project wikis; GitHub repositories

‘Critically Endangered’ in the Presence of Aggravating Conditions

Originating researcher no longer active or changed research focus; staff on temporary contracts; dependence on single student or staff member; weak or fluid institutional commitment to subject matter; weak institutional commitment to data sharing; complicated or contested intellectual property; encryption; limited or dysfunctional data management planning.

Vulnerable in the Presence of Good Practice

Data in preparation for transfer to specialist repository; robust data management planning; documented and managed professionally;

2019 Review

Research data has been an entry in the BitList since 2017 so the Jury this year has tried to spell out the different complexities that arise in the preservation of research outputs more generally. This entry represents ‘self-help’ data sharing which is to be encouraged as a means to facilitate open science but shouldn’t be confused with long-term preservation.

Additional Jury Comments

Research data is complex and has specific requirements for documentation which may only be known to subject matter experts. However, data creators are not necessarily well placed to sustain data in the long term.

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