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Open Access

Learn more about Open Access and How it Impacts You!

Open Data

Open Data is research data that:

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

Open Data:

  • 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 produced 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. 
  • 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 of the 21st 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.

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.

(Source: SPARC. (2021). Open Datahttps://sparcopen.org/open-data/)

Public Access Mandates

In 2008, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) adopted a policy requiring all NIH funded research to be deposited within 12 months of publication into the repository PubMedCentral. In 2013, the White House, through the Office of Science and Technology Policy, issued an executive directive mandating that U.S. Government agencies with annual extramural research and development expenditures over $100 million make the results of taxpayer-funded research—both articles and data—be made freely available to the general public with the goal of accelerating scientific discovery and fueling innovation. Those agencies have begun adopting and issuing plans for the deposit of scholarly articles and data into openly accessible repositories. Similarly, a few states and several private funders have proposed and enacted legislation and policies mandating public access of funded research.

On August 25, 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum outlining guidance to federal agencies to make taxpayer-funded research immediately available to the public to freely access and use.  SPARC has put together a list of FAQ related to the new guidelines on their website. 

Here are a few resources to help you learn more:

Open Data Resources

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