The Institut Pasteur recently introduced a new policy for managing and sharing research data and software codes. The policy is part of a wider commitment to open science that began in 2004, the same year as the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge, and was reaffirmed in the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan.
In its 2019-2023 Strategic Plan, the Institut Pasteur confirms its long-term strategy to "promote open access to publications and research data." This target is in line with France's National Plan for Open Science and with ambitions at international level to improve research sharing, quality and reproducibility. In 2021, the Institut Pasteur pledged its commitment to two areas of open science with a Charter for Open Access to Publications and a policy for managing and sharing research data and software codes.
The policy for managing and sharing research data and software codes lays down guidelines that are consistent with those of the Institut Pasteur's partner establishments and meet the requirements of research funding bodies and journal publishers. The aim is to provide guidance for scientists and to ensure that data and software codes are structured and managed according to FAIR principles and an "open" approach where possible. This means that research data and software are accessible to the scientific community and to society and can be used for teaching and training purposes.
The Institut Pasteur's new policy goes beyond merely stating best practices; it gives scientists the operational resources they need to implement them. It is based on scientists' needs and on the data lifecycle (planning, creation/collection, processing, analysis, storage/archiving, sharing and reuse), with information sheets containing details about tools and contacts that scientists may find useful. Part of the policy also focuses on managing codes, programs, scripts and software. These best practices are useful even outside the open science framework, for example in cases when data cannot be shared for regulatory or contractual reasons.
Implementing these best practices will:
- improve the quality, integrity and reproducibility of research, with precise, comprehensive, authentic and reliable data;
- make data accessible and understandable over the long term, whether or not they are published;
- facilitate data reuse by the initial investigator, by Institut Pasteur staff or by other scientists if the data are published, thereby avoiding duplication and saving time and resources.
This data management and sharing process also encourages the sharing and distribution of research products among the scientific community, with the aim of:
- boosting the visibility and impact of scientists' work;
- promoting scientific collaboration;
- enabling interdisciplinary research that can lead to innovation.