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Open Science

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Open Code & Software

Data and code are at the core of much research and scholarship. Making your data and code open can lead to increased research impact, improve reproducibility, and allow new discoveries and research through reuse.

The Open Definition defines Open Data as data that "can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose."

Some forms of research funding expect data resulting from a project to be shared. For example, the National Science Foundation's policy on the Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results states that investigators are expected to share primary data, samples, and other supporting materials. Other US Federal agencies have or are adopting similar policies.

Sharing Data, Code or Both?

Sometimes data can be shared alone, but there are times when there are scripts or research code that are critical to being able to understand the context and use of the data. In these cases it's crucial to share not only the data, but also any relevant code. Some data repositories allow data and code to be shared together, while others only accept data. Another approach is the one taken by Zenodo, which is a domain-general data repository that allows researcher to link directly to their code in Github. However the data and code are made available, it's important to document how they go together.

Conversely, you may have research code that could apply to all kinds of other data and would like to share that code openly. There are number of good options for sharing code, as well as some additional considerations (see below).

Sharing versus Publishing

You can share your data in a number of ways, and it can be tempting to simply store it on a platform like DropBox or Google and share a link to it, or to otherwise share it informally. However, sharing your data by publishing it in a data repository has a number of important advantages:

  • Citable: Get a unique, persistent, citable link like a DOI to make it easier for others to give you credit for your work
  • Re-usable: Some repositories offer professional data curation services to help ensure your data is re-usable
  • Lasting: Long-term preservation practices means your data will still be available in the years to come

Tools and Resources