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Open Data

What is open data?

Open data is the idea that some data (e.g. that underpins the research undertaken for a paper) should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish.

Why do I have to make my data open?

Most research funders (research councils, charities, foundations) believe that publicly funded research data are a public good, and should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible. On top of that, funders have their individual data policies which provide beneficiaries with instructions on how to treat research data.

In particular, EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) policy requires that all publications with a publication date on/after 1st May 2015 include a statement describing how to access the underlying research data (or a statement explaining any restrictions). Funders have also introduced policies on research data management.

How do I make my data open?

You can upload your data to the University repository, or choose an alternative data repository. Sometimes your funder (e.g. ESRC or NERC) will require that you deposit your data into a specified data repository. Please see the Data Repository information on the University's Open Data website for guidance.

If you upload your data to the University repository, the Open Data team will review your submission, upload your data into the institutional repository and reply to you providing a persistent link to your data.

See our website on converting your data into open formats.

Where can I find out more about open data in Cambridge?

Members of staff from the University's Office of Scholarly Communication gave a presentation on 'Sharing your research' (covering both open access and open data) on 19th April 2016.

Have a look at our Open Data FAQs for chemists website to find answers to common questions that have been raised by members of the Department of Chemistry.

Our Data Champions might be able to help.

The University's Open Data website at provides comprehensive information on open data in Cambridge:

  • Data management guide (creating, organising, accessing, managing, and sharing data);
  • Support available in Cambridge and externally;
  • University data repository guidance and link for uploading your data;
  • Research data policies of major funders, as well as University policy;
  • Comprehensive FAQs;
  • News (you can sign up to receive a regular newsletter) and events (e.g. research data management workshops are run regularly around the University).

See also the Chemistry Library Blog and Chemistry Library Twitter account for the latest news on open data in Cambridge and beyond.

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