Two british scientists have just been writing some great stuff on how to counter concerns about opening up data. Here is a pick of arguments i am sometimes confronted with:

Argument: People will misinterpret the data

– Document how it should be interpreted
– Be prepared to help and correct such people; those that misinterpret it by accident will be grateful for the help
– Publishing may actually be useful to counter willful misrepresentation (e.g. of data acquired through Freedom of Information legislation), as one can quickly point to the real data on the web to refute the wrong interpretation.

Argument: We might want to use it in a research paper

– I’ve heard this about datasets produced in crystalography
– One option is to have an automatic or optional embargo; require people to archive their data at the time of creation but it becomes public after X months. You could even give the option to renew the embargo so only things that are no longer cared about become published, but nothing is lost and eventually everything can become open.

If you find this interesting, you also have to read this great post on the Data Pub-Blog: Closed Data… Excuses, Excuses.

Christian Heise


Research Associate at the Hybrid Publishing Lab and Member of Board of the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, currently working on his Ph.D thesis about Open Science. More about me...

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