Open Data is the movement to make research datasets open, thereby enabling the sharing, reuse, and transparency of research findings. Similar to the Open Access movement for articles, Open Data is critical for advancing science and humanities research in the digital age. While there are many reasons to make your research data accessible and reusable, here we focus on two groups of motivations: policy requirements and individual and disciplinary benefits.
Why Open Up Your Data?
Open Data Policies
More and more funders, publishers (PLOS, Elsevier, Springer-Nature, and more), institutions, and other stakeholders in the research enterprise require that researchers make their data publicly accessible. See, for example, the data management plan requirement from the National Science Foundation, or the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy memorandum.
Benefits of Open Data
- Allows credit to data producers and curators (via data citation and emerging altmetrics)
- Encourages reuse of datasets and discourages duplication of effort
- Encourages proper curation and management of data
- Ensures the completeness, transparency, and integrity of research
- Improves discoverability and citability of datasets
How to Plan for and Manage Your Data
Making your data open – and meeting other funder and institutional requirements – will go more smoothly if you plan ahead. You can create data management plans that meet institutional and funder requirements with the DMPTool.
The DMPTool is free to use and provides support on a variety of issues, including:
- File formats
- Data documentation
- Sample plans
Researchers are increasingly faced with new expectations and obligations in regards to data management. To assess and advance your data management practices throughout the course of a research project in this challenging landscape, see the RDM Guide for Researchers.
How to Open Up Your Data
There are several options for making data openly available and citable:
- A domain-specific or general repository. There are many domain standards for making data publicly accessible. If you are unsure whether your domain has a standard or if you would like to use a general repository, you may consult publisher repository guides, re3data, or, in some cases, campus libraries provide data consultation services (Campus Resources).
- UC Data Publishing Platform: Dash is a simple self-service curation tool for researchers to publish and preserve their datasets. Data published in Dash is available for anyone to access and use, regardless of their institutional affiliation. Published data and associated metadata are assigned a DOI for citation and made publicly available under a creative commons license (CC BY or CC0). Data published in Dash is preserved in Merritt—a preservation repository administered by the University of California. Merritt has built-in contingencies for disaster recovery including redundancy and recovery plans.