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The State of Open Data 2019 – Global Attitudes towards Open Data

By Alex Jackson October 23, 2019

Majority of researchers want funding withheld and penalties for lack of data sharing

Today Figshare, the online digital repository for academic research, launched its annual report The State of Open Data 2019, to coincide with global celebrations around Open Access Week. The report is the fourth in the series and includes survey results and a collection of articles from global industry experts, as well as a foreword from Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services).

The State of Open Data is now the longest running longitudinal study on the subject, which was created in 2016 to examine attitudes and experiences of researchers working with open data – sharing it, reusing it, and redistributing it. 

This year’s survey received a record number of survey participants with around 8,500 responses from the research community. While most trends are encouraging around the adoption and acceptance of open data, the research community is now demanding more enforcement of the mandates that have been adopted by many governments, funders, publishers and institutions around the world. 

As with previous years, Figshare, in association with Digital Science, partnered with Springer Nature, to create and distribute the survey reaching as broad an audience as possible.

Key findings include:

  • 79% of 2019 respondents were supportive overall of a national mandate for making primary research openly available
  • 67% of respondents think that funders should withhold funding from, or penalise in other ways, researchers who do not share their data if the funder has mandated that they do so 
  • 69% of respondents think that funders should make the sharing of research data part of their requirements for awarding grants
  • 36% of respondents expressed the concern that their data may be misused if it was shared
  • 42% of researchers would be encouraged to share their data if it resulted in a co-authorship

Mark Hahnel, CEO and Founder, Figshare, said: “We’re really proud to release the fourth in the series of the State of Open Data reports. A big thanks to all the research community who made it the largest survey to date. 

“It’s encouraging to see the important trends around the adoption of open data moving in the right direction. The onus now appears to be on funders and government to enforce the mandates they have implemented over recent years. There is still a big gap when it comes to recognising data in tenure and review, so there is also pressure on institutions to consider a variety of outputs and metrics when rewarding their staff.” 

Grace Baynes, Vice President, Research Data & New Product Development, Springer Nature, said: “We are delighted to once again partner with Figshare on this annual survey and report as we continue to better understand the evolving views and motivations around open data and sharing.  This year we saw some interesting changes in reported motivators to share data. While ‘Increased impact and visibility of my research’ and ‘Public benefit’ remain the top two reasons, ‘Getting proper credit for sharing data’, ‘Journal/publisher requirement’ and ‘Funder requirement’ are notably higher on researcher’s agendas.

“The survey also shows that we still have a significant gap to close on the question of credit. Just 12% of respondents felt they received sufficient credit for sharing data. Sharing data and research is a central part of open research and open science, facilitating research and advancing progress. To better support this, engagement is going to be needed from all stakeholders to drive forwards appropriate measures and credit to better support our research community, enabling sustainable and incentivised engagement with open data.”

The report contributions include:


Paul Ayris, FRHistS, Pro-Vice-Provost, UCL Library Services, University College London

Power Struggles and Rewards for Academic Data

Mark Hahnel, Founder and CEO, Figshare

Building Trust to Break Down Barriers

Iain Hrynaszkiewicz, Publisher, Open Research, PLOS

What is the State of Open Data in 2019? 

Briony Fane, Data Analyst, Digital Science

Data Mandates and Incentives: Steps Publishers Can and Should Take Today
Grace Baynes, VP, Research Data and New Product Development, Open Research, Springer Nature

University Press Scaffolding for Open Data Credit Mechanisms
Emily Farrell, Library Sales Executive, MIT Press

Download the report on Figshare now and you can share online using #stateofopendata

For press enquiries, please contact
Alex Jackson
Head of Press, Digital Science

Notes to editors

Figshare is a repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner. Figshare’s aim is to become the place where all academics make their research openly available. It provides a secure cloud based storage space for research outputs and encourages its users to manage their research in a more organized manner, so that it can be easily made open to comply with funder mandates. Openly available research outputs will mean that academia can truly reproduce and build on top of the research of others. Visit

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