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Open Data at the University of Guelph

Making research openly available for all

With Open Access Week just around the corner, all things open are getting the attention they deserve. Open generally refers to academic materials that are accessible with no cost. Within the realm of open initiatives is open data, which is research data that is freely available on the internet and can be downloaded, copied and used by anyone without financial barriers. Like other data, open data can provide researchers and students with information that is used to replicate and verify research results.

Open data includes both qualitative data—a textual description of the data—and quantitative data—a numerical description of the data. Making data open and accessible benefits everyone.

Why choose open data? 

  • The growth of discovery is accelerated. When data and datasets are freely available to individuals, connections beyond the original purpose of the data can be made leading to a more complete picture of an area of research.
  • Ensures that potential scientific milestones are not missed. Through open data initiatives, researchers can confirm research results that could then be used in an important discovery to somebody else.
  • Improves the integrity of the scientific and scholarly record. When data is openly available, it is significantly easier for other researchers to check each other’s work and ensure that conclusions are built on a truthful foundation

Source: SPARC*, “Open Data”

The library is home to the Data Resource Centre (DRC)—a unique place where students and researchers can find help for all things related to data. DRC staff can assist you in finding an open datasets or help you navigate the library’s A-Z database list. All you have to do is book an appointment online. The library also maintains two research data depositores to preserve and provide access to datasets and other research materials resulting from U of G's research projects; if you are wanting to deposit data or are seeking data sources, you can visit U of G's Dataverse.

If you’re interested in brushing up your data skills, we have a data skills workshop series running every semester. For more information about all events and workshops happening at the library, visit our Events & Workshops page.

For more information about open initiatives at the University of Guelph, visit our open scholarship support page.