May 18, 2022

Research Article: “Open Data and Open Access Articles: Exploring Connections in the Life Sciences”

The article linked to below was recently published by the Journal of eScience Librarianship.



Sarah C. Williams
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Journal of eScience Librarianship
Vol. 9 (2020), Iss. 1
DOI: 10.7191/jeslib.2020.1184


This small-scale study explores the current state of connections between open data and open access (OA) articles in the life sciences.

This study involved 44 openly available life sciences datasets from the Illinois Data Bank that had 45 related research articles. For each article, I gathered the OA status of the journal and the article on the publisher website and checked whether the article was openly available via Unpaywall and Research Gate. I also examined how and where the open data was included in the HTML and PDF versions of the related articles.

Of the 45 articles studied, less than half were published in Gold/Full OA journals, and while the remaining articles were published in Gold/Hybrid journals, none of them were OA. This study found that OA articles pointed to the Illinois Data Bank datasets similarly to all of the related articles, most commonly with a data availability statement containing a DOI.

The findings indicate that Gold OA in hybrid journals does not appear to be a popular option, even for articles connected to open data, and this study emphasizes the importance of data repositories providing DOIs, since the related articles frequently used DOIs to point to the Illinois Data Bank datasets. This study also revealed concerns about free (not licensed OA) access to articles on publisher websites, which will be a significant topic for future research.

Direct to Full Text Article
10 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.