Open Data is the process of making the data gathered and created during the course of research openly available.
Grant funding bodies and publishers are increasingly requesting researchers make data associated with research outputs publicly available.
Data sets are the raw data files that are used for secondary analysis in research. They are often deposited in data archives for preservation and dissemination purposes. Although not all data files are available, data archives can be searched by a number of access points.
Data sets are considered to be a primary research source. Data set files are usually downloadable and can be manipulated using statistical software such as SPSS. Some data archives also provide tools for online analysis.
Many governments, NGOs and research organisations now make many datasets available for reuse. Many are available free of charge, some are only available under certain conditions or may require payment (see below for information on restricted access datasets). Below are links and information on finding relevant datasets using FlindIt@Flinders, as well as some of the main sources of government, research, and restricted access datasets.
Finding research data
Open data repositories
- Australian Data Archive
- ICPSR (Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research *US)
- TERN (Australian Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network) Data Discovery Portal
- UK Data Archive
- World Health Organisation Global Health Observatory
Open government data portals
- Research Data Australia
Research Data Australia is a discovery service for Australian research data. It is designed to provide rich connections between data, projects, researchers and institutions, and promote visibility of Australian research data collections in search engines.
Databib is a collaborative, annotated bibliography of primary research data repositories developed with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in the US
- CSIRO Data Access Portal
Data repository catalogues
FindIt @ Flinders
- Use FindIt@Flinders to search for datasets:
- set your advanced search to 'articles'
- enter keyword/s and 'datacite' eg lizards datacite
How to cite research data
"Data citation refers to the practice of providing a reference to data in the same way as researchers routinely provide a bibliographic reference to outputs such as journal articles, reports and conference papers. Citing data is increasingly being recognised as one of the key practices leading to recognition of data as a primary research output" 
 Australian National Data Service (2011) Data Citation. Retrieved from http://www.ands.org.au/cite-data/
The DataCite format is used to display citation Metadata in collection records in Research Data Australia.
Making your research data open
eResearch @ Flinders can help make your research data openly available, assist with storage for Open Data and in addition provide Data Managment Planning tools. Data Management Planning tools assist in describing the how you will handle your data while undertaking research and following the completion of your research projects.
Please contact us for assistance.