Wednesday, 10 February 2016

An open mind on open data

The move to make scientific findings transparent can be a major boon to research, but it can be tricky to embrace the change.

It is a movement building steady momentum: a call to make research data, software code and experimental methods publicly available and transparent. A spirit of openness is gaining traction in the science community, and is the only way, say advocates, to address a 'crisis' in science whereby too few findings are successfully reproduced. Furthermore, they say, it is the best way for researchers to gather the range of observations that are necessary to speed up discoveries or to identify large-scale trends.

The open-data shift poses a conundrum for junior researchers, who are carving out their niche. On the one hand, the drive to share is gathering official steam. Since 2013, global scientific bodies — including the European Commission, the US Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Global Research Council — have begun to back policies that support increased public access to research.

Read the feature published in Nature