Attitudes About Open Access

Researchers' Attitudes About Open Access

By BizEd Staff

December 20, 2016

ABOUT THREE-QUARTERS of scholars have made their research data openly available at some point, and a similar number are aware of open data sets for scholars to reuse and redistribute. Even so, many would like more guidance about citing and repurposing open-access data.

These are among the conclusions in a global survey of 2,000 researchers conducted by Figshare, an online digital repository for academic research. The report, “The State of Open Data,” highlights the extent of awareness around open data, the incentives around its use, and the perspectives researchers have about making their own data open. Here are other key findings:

  • Nearly 70 percent of researchers value a data citation as much as an article citation, and an additional 10 percent value it even more.
  • Of the researchers who have made their data open, 60 percent are unsure about the licensing conditions under which they have already shared their data, and so are uncertain of the extent to which it can be accessed or reused. More than half said they would welcome more guidance on complying with policies. Less than half of the respondents said they are confident in how to cite a secondary research data set.
  • It is likely that data will be even more open in the future. Of those who have not made data open, 44 percent will definitely consider doing so, and an additional 46 percent might consider it.

“These findings show we have reached a key inflection point in the research community,” says Daniel Hook, CEO of Digital Science, the parent company of Figshare. “Understanding copyright, licensing, contractual, and ethical concerns around data sharing is key to participating appropriately in the open community. We need to provide the right education to young academics and provide clear guidance to more established colleagues to ensure a culture change can take place.”

To read the report, visit