What is open data?

Open data presumes making publicly available the underlying research materials obtained through the process of scholarly inquiry, and is part of Open Science/Scholarship practices, which also includes Open access (OA), open source programming, and open educational resources. Open data may be numeric or qualitative, structured or unstructured, and they may take the form of notebooks, statistical or spatial data tables, audio or visual recordings, photographs or models. The unifying characteristic of these data is that they are openly accessible to everyone and free from copyright, patent, or other restrictions.

What are the benefits of open data?

Open access to data has a range of potential benefits not only to the research community, but also to the world at large. Open data is increasingly viewed as an important tool in ensuring that scholarly research is repeatable, replicable, and reproducible. Additionally, data that are produced particularly as a result of government-funded research are beginning to be thought of as a common good that should be available to the public without a fee. In response to these changing perceptions, a growing number of scholarly journals and funders are encouraging or requiring some degree of data availability as a condition of publication or funding, 

How does Duke University Libraries support open data?

Duke University is firmly committed to the values of openness, transparency, and academic rigor in scholarly research. As a demonstration of this commitment, Duke University Libraries launched a data curation program in early 2017 to help scholars ensure their data are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR), in addition to making them available for the long term.

The Libraries have data curation staff on hand to help Duke community members think about how to best manage data throughout the research lifecycle. When researchers have completed a project, Library curators can help find an appropriate repository through which to make as much of the project’s underlying data as possible as openly available as possible. Although not the only solution for data publication, the Libraries also host the Duke Research Data Repository, where scholars can publish the data associated with their research. 

Open Data Resources at Duke

  • The Duke Research Data Repository
  • OSF
    • Duke University Libraries supports Open Science Framework (OSF) which is a free and open platform for collaborative work. Content uploaded to OSF can be assigned a Digital Object Identifier, which can be submitted to a publisher in order to link data or other files associated with a publication or work. 
  • QDR
    • Duke University Libraries has an institutional with Qualitative Data Repository (QDR). This repository helps with curation, preservation, data sharing, and publishing needs unique to qualitative data associated with research in the social sciences.
  • Vivli
    • Duke University School of Medicine has partnered with Vivli, a platform that aids in the discovery, sharing and analysis of clinical trial data. Vivli consists of a data repository, search engine, and secure research environment.