This report is the second in the series and includes survey results and a collection of articles from global industry experts, as well as a foreword from Jean-Claude Burgelman, Head of Unit Open Data Policies and Science Cloud at the European Commission.
In order to effectively examine attitudes and experiences of researchers working with open data – sharing it, reusing it, redistributing it – in 2016 Figshare released their first report collating findings of a survey undertaken in partnership with Springer Nature. The survey results, outlined in an article ‘Open Season for Open Data’, showed that open data was already a reality, and while researchers were unsure and lacked confidence on some specifics, there were indications the future would become more open. One year on, these survey results have been used to track the evolution of how researchers deal with data and the trends are positive with strong signals that open data is becoming more embedded.
For this year’s survey, partnering with both Springer Nature and Wiley, there was a marked growth in respondents from just over 2000 to almost 2300. Key findings include:
Respondents have become more aware of open data sets (82% up from 73%) than in 2016
Age does not appear to be a major factor in this trend
74% of researchers are curating their data for sharing
Willingness of researchers to reuse open data sets in their own research has grown, a 10% increase to 80%, with the increase replicated across age groups
Researchers who routinely share their data has also grown since 2016, although by a smaller amount, from 57% to 60%
The proportion of researchers who have never made a data set openly available has reduced in the last year
Looking deeper we can see further promise for the future of open data, as 70% of these researchers are now willing to reuse open data sets in their own research (up from 65%)
We have seen some interesting findings in the survey from Asia: the awareness of open data has increased by 15%, compared to 9% globally, and sharing open datasets has increased by 10%, compared to 3% globally. Moreover, achieving impact is a much bigger motivator for Asian researchers when they make their data open for sharing, for example, compared to North American researchers for whom public benefit is a bigger motivator. These outcomes are just one of a number of interesting geographical differences which are revealed in this year’s survey.
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