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Three Countries. Three Different Views on Open Data.

18th April 2024
 | Mark Hahnel

The “London Enterprise Project” at King’s College London gives students the opportunity to undertake an active enquiry project working with an external partner organization in the community. Digital Science and Figshare were happy to participate and were delighted to be partnered with Matthew, Kith and Ria. Matthew is excited to explore the world of data analysis and gain an understanding of the benefits of Open Data. Kith aims to contribute to science in an open and accessible manner to aid the research community. Ria is interested in the different global policies and is delighted to contribute to advancing scientific research. 

Figshare hosts an annual “State of Open Data (SOOD)” Report where it aims to provide insight into researchers around the world regarding their attitudes towards and experiences of open data containing 6,091 usable data. For this project, we decided to take the time to dig deeper into the results of the reports to see where the trends were not consistent based on different demographics. 

In analyzing answers to questions about the researchers themselves, research data collection and curation, support for research, we began to notice the data between the top 10 countries showed a consistent divergence with some common names repeatedly popping up. As such, this report is “The Global Lens: Highlighting national nuances in researchers’ attitudes to open data”.

You can begin to see the trends and the differences in some of the data we started to uncover below. When researchers answered the question on the survey “Thinking about the country in which you are currently working, how supportive are you of the idea of a national mandate for making research data more openly  available?” – In Ethiopia, 48% of researchers strongly favour, and 77% support, a national mandate. In the U.S., 61%  support, with 18% opposed. In Japan, 14% are strongly in favour, and 42% support, but a majority (58%) are neutral or against, with 17% opposed.

When creating a visual representation of the statistics, a common pattern emerged, the contrast between Ethiopia, Japan and USA on their view on Open Data. 

Our team tries to uncover the “why” behind various countries’ perspectives on open data. We look at each country’s history of research practices, funding, and policies. Exploring these factors individually was not sufficient to gain a thorough understanding. Thus, using the Digital Science network, we consulted experts that have worked or have experience in each country to validate our findings and deepen our insights into the world of researchers and open data.

Mark Hahnel - speaker block image - 720x720

About the Author

Mark Hahnel, Vice President Open Research | Digital Science

Mark Hahnel is the VP Open Research at Digital Science. He is the founder of Figshare, which he created while completing his PhD in stem cell biology at Imperial College London. Figshare currently provides research data infrastructure for institutions, publishers and funders globally. He is passionate about open science and the potential it has to revolutionize the research community. Mark sits on the board of DataCite and the advisory board for Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). He was on the judging panel for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Wellcome Trust Open Science prize and acted as an advisor for the Springer Nature master classes.