What is Open Data? Open Access Series.


  • Continuing with our series of posts on Open Access, today’s question is: What is Open Data?

In a nutshell, the term ‘open data’ refers to making research data publicly available so that anyone can access it. Open data is applicable to all academic disciplines where research is undertaken and data is produced.

What are the benefits of sharing your research data?

  • Transparency and verification – making your data open and citing its location in published research papers allows others to replicate and validate your results.
  • Increase the impact of your research – open data may be cited by others, thereby increasing your impact within your field and beyond it. Users of your data may include those in other disciplines, sectors, and countries.
  • Preserve your data for long-term use – open data guards against loss or damage, particularly where it is stored in a repository as opposed to a USB stick.
  • Assist in organising and describing your data – when you make your data open, you need to describe it to give it context and to make it discoverable. You will benefit from this process as it will enable you to understand and retrieve your data years into the future.
  • Publicly funded research – there is a growing international movement for making publicly funded research available to the public.
  • Teaching purposes – your data may useful in teaching others to collect and analyse similar types of data themselves.
  • Meet funding requirements – some funding bodies require open access to data.
  • Re-use – data that is open can be re-used, facilitating new discoveries to be made from existing data and reducing the need to duplicate research.

Convinced? Next week we will provide some options for how you can share your data. See you then!