Skip to Main Content

Research Data Literacy 101

This guide will walk you through some of the tools, resources, and best practices for working & visualizing information, including data. Guide 1 of a 3-part series.

Open Data

What is Open Data?

According to SPARC, "Open Data is research data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone." Read more about it on their Open Data Fact Sheet.

Where do I Find Open Data?

Check out the many resources labeled with the Open Access open lock icon on the Find Data page of this guide.

Why Should I Consider Making my Data Open?

"Open Data has the potential to speed up the research process while simultaneously improving our confidence in those results," (SPARC on Open Data). Sharing your data openly using a Creative Commons license can advance knowledge and discovery, improve the scientific and scholarly record, increase access to your scholarship. 

Additionally, funders are increasingly requiring researchers to share their data. All federal funders now mandate publicly accessible data. SPARC provides a great list of Data Sharing Requirements by Federal Agency. You can learn more about data management plan expectations by funder on our Research Data Management guide as well.

How do I Make my Data Open?

Start by articulating a Data Management Plan. Working through the steps of this plan as you design your research project (and revisit it throughout the project) will set you up properly for being able to share your data.

Choose a license for your data. The license defines what others may do with your data. Two common sources for licenses are Creative Commons and Open Data Commons.

There are a variety of ways to share your data including submitting it with journal articles submissions, which is sometimes requested by publishers in the hard sciences. Another approach is to publish your data in an open repository. There are a many repositories available to meet your needs. See our lists on the Research Data Repositories Library Guide