Recently a Dartmouth faculty member reached out to us within the Scholarly Communication Program to discuss Dartmouth’s endorsing the international accord, “Open Data in a Big Data World.” Within the Scholarly Communication Program, we are interested in this conversation as we think about how the Dartmouth Academic Commons might incorporate data into its future developments. Our conversations with Dartmouth faculty and staff about public access and the Federal mandate to Expand Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research also continue to increase, and the question of open data should be considered in tandem. [Open repository work at Dartmouth is transitioning. For the most current information about the status of open repository development for the Dartmouth faculty scholarship, please see: https://www.dartmouth.edu/~library/schcomm/DDC.html]
Answering the open data question is not really a new development. In 2009, four scientists met at Panton Arms, a pub on Panton Street in Cambridge, UK, and wrote the first draft of the Panton Principles. These principle were later revised by Open Knowledge Foundation Working Group on Open Data in Science and then officially launched in 2010. The development of the Panton Principles stem from the notion that science progresses when researchers have access to review, modify, criticize, edit, and repurpose the work of others. This is what supports progress within scientific discovery, but it is also true in fields outside of the sciences. Knowing about and analyzing the work of others not only informs us, but it inspires us to learn more, strive further, and discover new things based on this information. This is an excellent reason to think carefully and strategically about open data issues.
The Open Science Framework is another exciting initiative and resource to explore when thinking about how to access data. The Open Science Framework is an online commons where scholars can upload their data sets into the cloud to share openly, share with specific colleagues, or keep private until they are ready to share them. To help facilitate ease of access, the Open Science Framework also integrates with 3rd parties such as GitHub, figshare, and Mendeley. These integrations allow scientists to streamline their workflow by bringing their projects into one centralized location within the Open Science Framework dashboard.
Conversations, systems, and programs circle around the topic of how to gather, organize, and present publicly important data that will help researchers answer important questions. Engaging in those conversations and hearing disciplinary perspectives on what is needed is a large piece of how the Scholarly Communication Program forwards the goal to support openly available information.