Open Access

What is Open Data?

Open data is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone.

The key features of open data are

  • Availability and Access
    • must be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably by downloading over the internet
    • must also be available in a convenient and modifiable form.
  • Re-use and Redistribution
    • must be provided under terms that permit re-use and redistribution including the intermixing with other datasets.
  • Universal Participation
    • ​​​​​​​everyone must be able to use, re-use and redistribute
    • there should be no discrimination against fields of endeavour or against persons or groups.
      • For example, ‘non-commercial’ restrictions that would prevent ‘commercial’ use, or restrictions of use for certain purposes (e.g. only in education), are not allowed.

Adapted from Open Data Handbook

Why Open Data is important

It is increasingly common for major funding agencies and many journals to stipulate Open Data/Data Sharing as part of their requirements for funding Heads made of gearsor publication.

In addition to meeting publisher and funder requirements, open data also:

  • Increases transparency
  • Improves reproducibility & reliability
  • Facilitates research expansion
  • Creates opportunities for collaboration
  • Increases impact by increasing citation rates
  • Allows data to be used for educational purposes

Repositories exist to collect and preserve scholarly data.  Data deposited in a repository helps facilitate not only preservation, but also discovery and citation.  Just keep in mind that not every subject repository will accept all data nor are all repositories suited for long-term preservation.

Image by Ansonlobo, from Wikimedia Commons

Open Data Repositories

Data repositories are great for storing and promoting data.  There are hundreds of repositories with options available for all datasets.