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Open Data: What is Open Data?

Purpose of this Guide

open dataopen data (scrabble) by justgrimes on flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

This guide was created to explain the idea of Open Data and how to make your data open. In addition, this guide provides examples of Open Data mandates, resources and case studies.

Content in this guide was authored or compiled by past and current members of the Scholarly Communications Office at Emory University.

Open Data and the "Open Movement"

Open Data, is part of the wider Open Movement, related closely to Open Access, Open Source Software, and Open Educational Resources. An umbrella term, the Open Movement describes a number of interrelated and overlapping movements that support the idea of an open exchange of information and ideas.

What is Open Data?

Open Data is data made available to the public by individuals and organizations for anyone to use, share, and modify for any purpose, "subject, at most, to measures that preserve provenance and openness." (Open Definition 2.1)

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

Principles from the Open Data Institute, What makes data open? 

Open Data Button

open data button logo

Check out the beta release of the Open Data Button, a new online tool to help researchers track and request datasets they would like to see shared openly. 

A Video Introduction to Open Data

A brief introduction to what Open Data is, why it is useful to the general public, and some of the issues faced in creating, finding and using Open Data.

Contact Us

Have any questions on making your data technically accessible or about data management in general?

Contact Jennifer Doty, Research Data Librarian


Have any questions on licenses for your data or other legal questions?

Contact Melanie Kowalski, Copyright & Scholarly Communications Librarian


Data Archiving with the Emory Dataverse

Dataverse @ Emory: An open repository of Emory research data, supporting long-term and sustainable access for data produced from research projects or underlying publications in peer-reviewed journals. For more information about depositing your data with the Emory Dataverse, please see the guide.

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