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Open Science

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What is Open Data

Open data is data that is:

  • Freely available to download in a reusable form.  Large or complex data may be accessible via a service or facility that enables access in situ or the compilation of sub-sets.
  • Licensed with minimal reuse restrictions.
  • Well described with provenance and reuse information provided.
  • Available in convenient, modifiable, and open formats.
  • Managed by the provider on an ongoing basis.

Acknowledgement to Australian Research Data Commons

Who benefits from open data?   Everyone!  Open data supports:

  • New research and new types of research
  • The application of automated knowledge discovery tools online
  • The verification of previous results
  • A broader base set of data than any one researcher can hope to collect
  • The exploration of topics not envisioned by the initial investigators
  • The creation of new data sets, information and knowledge when data from multiple sources are combined
  • The transfer of factual information to promote development and capacity building in developing countries
  • Interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-institutional and international research

Acknowledgement to Royal Society

FAIR Data Principles

The FAIR Data Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable)

The principles emphasize machine actionability (i.e., the capacity of computational systems to find, access, interoperate, and reuse data with none or minimal human intervention) because humans increasingly rely on computational support to deal with data as a result of the increase in volume, complexity, and creation speed of data.


The first step in (re)using data is to find them. Metadata and data should be easy to find for both humans and computers. Machine-readable metadata are essential for automatic discovery of datasets and services, so this is an essential component of the FAIRification process.

  • (Meta)data are assigned a globally unique and persistent identifier
  • Data are described with rich metadata (defined by R1 below)
  • Metadata clearly and explicitly include the identifier of the data they describe
  • (Meta)data are registered or indexed in a searchable resource


Once the user finds the required data, she/he/they need to know how they can be accessed, possibly including authentication and authorization.
  • (Meta)data are retrievable by their identifier using a standardized communications protocol
    • The protocol is open, free, and universally implementable
    • The protocol allows for an authentication and authorization procedure, where necessary
  • Metadata are accessible, even when the data are no longer available


The data usually need to be integrated with other data. In addition, the data need to interoperate with applications or workflows for analysis, storage, and processing.

  • (Meta)data use a formal, accessible, shared, and broadly applicable language for knowledge representation.
  • (Meta)data use vocabularies that follow FAIR principles
  • (Meta)data include qualified references to other (meta)data


The ultimate goal of FAIR is to optimize the reuse of data. To achieve this, metadata and data should be well-described so that they can be replicated and/or combined in different settings.

  • (Meta)data are richly described with a plurality of accurate and relevant attributes
  • (Meta)data are released with a clear and accessible data usage license
  • (Meta)data are associated with detailed provenance
  • (Meta)data meet domain-relevant community standards