Open Data Repositories in Knowledge Society

Open Data Repositories in Knowledge Society

Nadim Akhtar Khan (University of Kashmir, India), Sara Sohrabzadeh (Tehran University of Medical Science, Iran) and Garvita Jhamb (University of Delhi, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7659-4.ch015

Abstract

Open data is data that can be freely used, re-used, and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share alike. Open data is an important resource in present knowledge-based society used for supporting decision-making activities in government agencies, research Institutions, higher educational institutions, etc. The research activities as well as policy-making decisions are highly benefited by the availability of open data. There should be no restrictions to its reuse like legal, financial, or technological. The chapter discusses the concept of open data and its importance in present times for supporting advanced research activities in different domains of human knowledge. It also provides a glimpse of open data repositories at global level and attempts to showcase select open data repositories set by different organizations and institutions for making different datasets available in varied areas for facilitating specialized research and development activities.
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Introduction

“Open means anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any purpose subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness. (Open Definition, 2015).” Open data is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share alike(Open Data Handbook, n.d). The term “Open Data” thus refers to data and information beyond just governmental institutions and includes those from other relevant stakeholder groups such as business/industry, citizens, Non Profit Organizations(NPOs) and Non Government Organizations(NGOs), science or education including the World Bank, the United Nations, The Guardian and the Open Knowledge Foundation (Bauer & Kaltenbock, 2012).Open data is regarded as an essential component of modern day research as it facilitates carrying advance research activities in different subject domains at much broader levels. Open Data is an important resource for supporting decision making activities in Government agencies; research Institutions, Higher Educational Institutions etc. The research activities as well as policy making decisions are highly benefited by the availability of open data. Many countries have come forward to embrace the concept of Openness especially facilitating Open access to government data as such data is deemed to be public data by law. The open data facilitates transparency and democratic control, participation, self-empowerment, improved or new products and services, innovation, improved efficiency and effectiveness of government services, impact measurement of policies, new knowledge from combined data sources and patterns in large data volumes. Open data as such is of much economic importance and is being reused world over in different setups. It improves government efficiency in addressing different issues concerning common people. It is paving ways for modern social fabrication and adding economic values to the existing data sets for efficient utilization resulting in new knowledge creation and more specializations. There should be no restrictions to its reuse like legal, financial or technological etc (Open Data Handbook, n.d).

The key requirements for Open Data include free availability of data and access and also format for redistribution and reuse of that data (SPARC, 2013). Good open data can be linked to so that it can be easily shared and talked about; is available in a standard, structured format, so that it can be easily processed; has guaranteed availability and consistency over time, so that others can rely on it; is traceable, through any processing, right back to where it originates, so others can work out whether to trust it (Open Data Institute, 2015). Harnad (2005) discusses that open access has two complementary routes: the gold road and the green road. Publishing in open-access journals is the golden road. It calls on publishers to adopt open access policies whereas green road calls on researchers to self-archive their works in institutional repositories and publishes it on the author's institutional Web site. The more data is made openly available in a useful manner, the greater the level of transparency and reproducibility and hence the more efficient the scientific process becomes, to the benefit of society. This viewpoint is becoming mainstream among many funders, publishers, scientists, and other stakeholders in research (Molloy, 2011).

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