Open Data

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During the past several years, Open Data has become a field of urgent interest to researchers, scholars, and librarians. With the amount of scientific data doubling every year, issues surrounding the access, use, and curation of data sets are increasing in importance. The data-rich, researcher-driven environment that is evolving poses new challenges and provides new opportunities in the sharing, review, and publication of research results. Ensuring open access to the data behind the literature will play a key role in seeing that the scholarly communication system evolves in a way that supports the needs of scholars and the academic enterprise as a whole. 

The Panton Principles – A Call for Open Data in Science


In early 2010, the Open Knowledge Foundation released The Panton Principles for Open Data and an "Is it Open Data?" query service. The combination of the Panton Principles with the Open Knowledge/Data definition provides a strong foundation for the Open Data to begin to make significant progress in raising awareness.

The authors of the Panton Principles advocate making data freely available on the Internet for anyone to download, copy, analyze, reprocess, pass them to software or use for any purpose without financial, legal or technical barriers. The group emerged with four recommendations to ensure that scientific data could easily and explicitly be made open. Condensed, the Panton Principles read:

1. When publishing your data, make an explicit and robust statement of your wishes.

2. Use a recognized waiver or license that is appropriate for data.

3. Non-commercial and other restrictive clauses should not be used.

4. Explicit dedication of data underlying science into the public domain via PDDL and CCZero is strongly recommended and ensures compliance with both the Science Commons Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data and the Open Knowledge/Data Definition.

The Panton Principles were publicly launched in February of 2010, and a Web site was established to spread the word The authors set up a Q&A on the site to explain their philosophy, as well as links to other supporting documents. About 100 individuals and organizations have endorsed the Principles so far, including the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Learn more:

The Legal Status of Raw Data: a guide for research practice
From the SURF Foundation.

SPARC-ACRL Forum on Open Data (June 2006)
This SPARC-ACRL forum introduced Open Data as an emerging focus, explored the challenges of managing the data deluge, and gave participants insights for crafting their own digital data preservation and curation policies. Remarks and slides from Ray English, Clifford Lynch, Christopher Greer, and Robert Hanisch are available online.

SPARC Open Data Email Discussion List

The SPARC Open Data Email Discussion List will provide a forum for participants to explore issues of access to digital data associated with peer-reviewed STM research. Many advocates of Open Data believe that, although there are substantial potential benefits from sharing and reusing digital data upon which scientific advances are built, today much of it is being lost or underutilized because of legal, technological and other barriers. Beginning in October 2005, the new discussion list will enable participants to debate issues of access to and re-use of research data that researchers or funders wish to see available for use by others. The list's emphasis is on defining the scope of Open Data and collecting examples of desirable and undesirable practices.

To subscribe, send a message to
Members can view the archive at:
To post messages, send your message to subscribers only.)