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Open Data

Open data is data that is freely available for use or distribution by anyone. It is research data that:

  • Is freely available on the internet;
  • Permits any user to download, copy, analyze, re-process, pass to software or use for any other purpose; and
  • Is without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access ot the internet

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Copyright SPARC

Why Use Open Data?

Open data is important because 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 produce the original data.
  • Grows the economy. Researchers estimate that $3.2 trillion in economic output could be added to global GDP through Open Data across all sectors, with scientific and scholarly data playing an important role. [1]
  • Helps ensure we don't miss breakthroughs. There are a huge number of ways to use or analyze any given dataset. What seems like noise to one person could be an important discovery to someone else with a different perspective or analytical technique.
  • Improves the integrity of the scientific and scholarly record. When the data that underlies findings is accessible, researchers can check each other's work and ensure that conclusions are built upon a firm foundation.
  • Is becoming recognized by many in the research community as an important part of the research enterprise for the 21st century. From research funders like the US government to publishers, institutions involved in the research process are beginning to require that, at the very least, the data that underlies publications be made openly accessible.


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Copyright SPARC