Open Data is 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 other purpose without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.
Open Data is research data that:
Open Data typically applies to a range of non-textual materials, including datasets, statistics, transcripts, survey results, and the metadata associated with these objects. The data is, in essence, the factual information that is necessary to replicate and verify research results. Open Data policies usually encompass the notion that machine extraction, manipulation, and meta-analysis of data should be permissible.
Open Data has the potential to speed up the research process while simultaneously improving our confidence in those results. The access, use, and curation of this huge and growing body of data is central to the research enterprise.
During the past several years, Open Data has become a field of urgent interest to researchers, scholars, and librarians. With the amount of scientific data doubling every year, issues surrounding the access, use, and curation of data sets are increasing in importance. The data-rich, researcher-driven environment that is evolving poses new challenges and provides new opportunities in the sharing, review, and publication of research results. Ensuring access to primary research data will play a key role in seeing that the scholarly communication system evolves in a way that supports the needs of scholars and the academic enterprise as a whole.
Increasingly, institutions that support research – from public and private research funders to higher education institutions – are exploring policies that require researchers to produce data management plans that explicitly cover how they will make their data available, and under what terms.
Broadly communicating results and making research data broadly accessible and fully available for reuse encourages new research through the reanalysis of existing data, further leveraging the value of a research investment. Providing access to data that is made accessible in formats and under terms that enable full reuse promotes interoperability, and allows the data to be mined using cutting-edge computational tools across huge amounts of data to find connections, trends and patterns that can’t be uncovered when data is closed or siloed.
The process of making data truly open can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. To help simplify the process, it may be helpful to think about enabling Open Data through two basic routes:
Open Data Repositories
Open Data Portals