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New report to help unleash the power of open data

Recommendations to harness the tremendous opportunities provided by open data have been made by a government taskforce involving a Queen Mary academic. 

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The Open Research Data Taskforce examined the opportunities presented though open research data and last week published their final report, ‘Realising the Potential’, which was co-authored by Queen Mary's Bill Spence, Professor of Theoretical Physics and former Vice Principal Research.

Realising the Potential analyses the opportunities provided by the explosion in research and other data in our society, which can facilitate progress on pressing social issues such as climate change or antibiotic resistance, as well as promote rapid growth in research and its applications generally, leading to new, sustainable and more efficient technologies.

The final report is structured around five main recommendation themes:

  • Better incentives, fewer barriers
  • Active leadership
  • Clear expectations
  • User-friendly services
  • Sustainable funding

Data use for social good

Professor Spence said: “Our aim was to provide practical recommendations that can quickly foster the growth and use of research data for social good.

“This includes appropriate leadership, clear expectations, accessible systems and databases, incentives and sustainable funding, in order to harness the tremendous opportunities provided by open data, whilst at the same time promoting public understanding and trust in science.”

The taskforce comprised a panel of senior academics plus representatives from the Royal Society, HEFCE (RE/UKRI), the Wellcome Trust, Universities UK, BEIS and Jisc, and was established by the then Minister of State for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson MP.

The recommendations are now being assessed for implementation by Government departments and the major funding agencies.

More information

  • Full report available here
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