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Open Data

A brief introduction to open data


What is Open Data?

SPARC defines Open Data as "research data that is freely available on the internet permitting any user to download, copy, analyse, re-process, pass to software or use for any purpose without financial, legal, or technological barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.” 

What is open data and what should we care? 

Why Share Data?

  • To fulfill funder and journal requirements. Grant funders and (in some disciplines) journals may require data sharing.
  • To raise interest in publications. One study found a 69% increase in citations for articles whose associated data were available online.
  • To establish priority. Data posted online can be timestamped to establish the date they were produced, blocking “scooping” tactics.
  • To speed research. Particularly in complex fields, data sharing can accelerate discovery rates, as researchers into Alzheimer’s disease discovered.

How will it help research?

  • A new study found those researchers who participated in research data management repositories are able to anticipate publication  and disclose results prior to the extended review process, thus may have an overall advantage.
  • Open data increases the researchers visibility in their community.
  • According to SPARC, it accelerates the pace of discovery. “When datasets are openly available, they can be easily accessed and used to create a fuller picture of a given area of inquiry, or analyzed by data mining software that can uncover connections not apparent to those who produced the original data.


For your consideration