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Data are like parachutes: They work best when open

Presenter 1
Reiner Mauer
GESIS - Leibniz - Institute for the Social Sciences
Presenter 2
Oliver Watteler
GESIS - Leibniz - Institute for the Social Sciences

The call for “open data” is very popular these days. The Open Access movement has gained a lot of momentum during the last decade and publishing under this model has partly become routine for researchers. But even though e.g. the Berlin Declaration (2003) mentions free and unrestricted access to research data, there is still a long way to go for the advocates of data sharing. A significant part of research data is still not accessible and will probably be part of the “digital oblivion movement” in the near future. What is actually meant by “open data”? The Open Knowledge Foundation defines “open data” as “data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone, subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share alike.” However, in practice openness can have different meanings. These meanings form a continuum ranging from the mere documentation of the existence of data to unrestricted and direct access to the actual datasets. We will analyze different access scenarios to research data to disentangle the legal, organizational and economic aspects that need to be taken into account when talking about “opening” access to data.

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