Category: open data

In order to fully realise the value of open data researchers must first address the quality of the datasets

There has been a phenomenal increase in the availability of data over the last decade. Open data is provided as a means of empowering users with information and in the hope of sparking innovation and increased efficiency in governments and businesses. However, in spite of the many success stories based on the open data paradigm, concerns remain over the quality […]

Embargoing the Term “Embargoes” Indefinitely

I’m two months into a position that lends part of its time to overseeing Dash, a Data Publication platform for the University of California. On my first day I was told that a big priority for Dash was to build out an embargo feature. Coming to the California Digital Library (CDL) from PLOS, an OA publisher […]

There’s a new Dash!

Dash: an open source, community approach to data publication We have great news! Last week we refreshed our Dash data publication service.  For those of you who don’t know, Dash is an open source, community driven project that takes a unique approach to data publication and digital preservation. Dash focuses on search, presentation, and discovery and […]

CC BY and data: Not always a good fit

This post was originally published on the University of California Office of Scholarly Communication blog. Last post I wrote about data ownership, and how focusing on “ownership” might drive you nuts without actually answering important questions about what can be done with data. In that context, I mentioned a couple of times that you (or […]

Open Data Panel at #IDCC16

The 11th International Digital Curation Conference is just around the corner and we are anticipating great discussions in Amsterdam in couple of weeks.

In the first of our series of preview posts, members of the Open Data Panel at IDCC – Fiona Nielsen, Marta Hoffman-Sommer, Phil Archer, Thomas Ingraham and Jeroen Rombouts – briefly explain why open data is important, what are the benefits as well as challenges to sharing research data.

Your session will focus on open data. Are there any specific messages you would like people to take away from it?

Fiona Nielsen (founder and CEO of DNAdigest and Repositive): My take-home message would be that publicly funded research data should be made available to the research community. The earlier and the more systematically you do so, the more benefit and credit you gain as a researcher among your peers and funders. Whenever research data does not hold personally identifiable information (PII) it should be made available as soon as possible. For many types of data this means that it can be published as open data along with data descriptors, metadata and helpful advice from the authors. However, in the special case of PII the access to the data will need to be managed with a governance model that matches the consent given for its use. All data descriptors, metadata and helpful advice from the authors can and should be made available as open data to maximise discoverability, accessibility and opportunities for reuse and reproducibility of results.

Marta Hoffman-Sommer (Open Science Platform at ICM University of Warsaw): I suppose we all agree that data from publicly funded research should be shared openly. What I would like to stress is how much individual researchers stand to gain from opening data – that sharing data really can be a standard part of a successful way of doing science.

Phil Archer (W3C): I wonder whether we might try and see things from the other direction a little. I am as guilty as anyone of starting from the concept of open data and saying it’s a really cool thing to do. The alternative angle is to think about what research questions you want to answer, what prompted you to want to research that specific question – quite possibly it was someone else’s work that made you think of something. OK, so if I had access to that original data, here’s how I’d be able to use it/augment it, test a new hypothesis etc. perhaps mixed with other data that I can find that already exists. It’s important to credit other people’s work of course – that’s always the carrot.

Thomas Ingraham (Publishing Editor at Open Life Science publishing platform F1000 Research): One thing I will say is that there are many arguments in favour of open research data; most focus on the altruistic benefits to other scientists and wider society, others on the direct benefits to the submitting researcher. Best bet is to go with the former if trying to convince an organization, and the latter when trying to convince individual scientists. It helps to tailor the argument to the recipient, rather than go straight for the ‘altruistic’ arguments in all cases.

Jeroen Rombouts (Director at 3TU.Datacentrum): There are many messages for the open data public but I hope that we can make it clear that we need to share if we all want to get more value out of data, to get research on higher levels. And that the people producing and sharing the data need to be rewarded for sharing and for that we need a revolution. So start publishing and citing data and develop support and incentives!

You’ll undoubtedly have looked at the programme in preparation for IDCC. Which speakers/sessions are you most looking forward to?

Fiona Nielsen: I am looking forward to the C3 session on Data sharing and reuse. There are lots of tools and best practices for research data sharing being developed around the world, including the Dataverse project (one of the presentations in C3) and similar initiatives. I think it is crucial for the advancement of research that we learn as a community what approaches work to increase incentives for sharing and reuse, so that these approaches can be built into any and all new research data publication initiatives. 

Marta Hoffman-Sommer: What I’m especially looking forward to at the conference is to gain some new insights into the management of data in the long tail of science – mostly in the B1 session (ed. Big science and the long tail), but I expect this comes up in other sessions as well.

Phil Archer: That would be the sessions around citation and linking. I’ll be also interested to hear what Susan Halford has to say.

Thomas Ingraham: Regrettably, I can only be at the conference for the Tuesday – I am especially disappointed about missing all the interesting Wednesday sessions. Thankfully, I’ll be there for Barend Mons and Andrew Sallans, definitely looking forward to their talks!

Jeroen Rombouts: I hope to take home with me opportunities for long tail data and bright ideas on developing RDM services from B1 (ed. Big science and the long tail) and A3 (ed. Research data services).

Would you like to know more? The Open Data Panel will run on Tuesday from 11:30 to 12:30. If you haven’t registered yet for the conference, book your place now.


Five Minutes with Ulrich Herb on Open Science: “Open Science must be adapted to disciplinary specificities”

In a recent interview conducted by OpenAire, open science veteran Ulrich Herb shares the main findings of his research on the extent of open research practices in the discipline of sociology, as well as his wider thoughts on the history and future of the Open Science movement. This interview originally appeared on the OpenAIRE portal here. How do you understand the term “Open Science”? […]

How data does political things: The processes of encoding and decoding data are never neutral.

It is difficult to see the political structure of data, because data maintains a veneer of scientistic objectivity. But data is inherently a form of politics, argues Jeffrey Alan Johnson. Data does not just allocate material things of value, it allocates moral values as well. Data producers encode a state of the world at a given time, which is then […]

Unless we change how we think about transparency, open data is unlikely to have a significant political impact at local level.

Open data and transparency have long been heralded as welcome innovations by policymakers and politicians, and the current Government has made it a priority at both a national and local level. But when it comes to the latter, how effective has it been and how much have citizens made use of it? Mark Frank argues that local authorities continued use of […]

What’s the point of open academic data? Redefining valuable research based on re-use and reproducibility.

The benefits of open research to both those who fund it and to wider society mean that academia is on a course which cannot be altered, or returned to a previous state. Mark Hahnel discusses the momentum behind making all research outputs openly available online and what changes may be in store for universities in this transition. Funder mandates could shift how […]