open data

The Power of Open Data

Science has always recognized the power of sharing in developing new knowledge. But in the search for treatments and cures for diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, the sprawling bodies of highly diverse research data are not easily shared. Either they are considered proprietary resources for making money, or they are hidden in academic databases that others may not know about, often inaccessible because of incompatible software formats. No single researcher really has the resources or incentive to develop an overarching regime to enable cooperation and sharing.

Can That Data Be Shared?

One of the big problems in science is the proliferation of databases whose content is technically incompatible or legally proprietary in some fashion — and therefore unable to be used by others in their research. For years a number of smart, committed scientists, law scholars and techies have grappled with the problem of making data accessible and re-useable. Now they have released a blueprint for doing so.