The State of Open Data 2017

Dr Mark Hahnel1

1Figshare, London, United Kingdom


In 2016, Figshare released the results of its global survey of 2,000 researchers in a report that assesses the global landscape around open data and sharing practices. The report highlights the extent of awareness around open data, the incentives around its use, and perspectives researchers have about making their own research data open. Some of the key findings of the 2016 report included:

  • For the majority of respondents, open data is already a reality:
    • Approximately three quarters of respondents have made their research data openly available at some point; a similar number are aware of data sets that are open to access, reuse, repurpose and redistribute.
  • Researchers place value on the credit they receive for making data open:
    • Nearly 70% of researchers value a data citation as much as an article citation. A further 10% value a data citation more than an article citation.
  • Awareness of open data transcends age and career progression:
    • Encouragingly, Principal Investigators (PIs) and Professors consistently responded similarly to PhD students and Post-doctoral fellows in their awareness of open data usage.
  • Respondents admit to uncertainty and gaps in their knowledge and are hungry for more information, perhaps one set of critical factors that hold back progression in open data sharing.
  • Researchers are uncertain of how to cite datasets
  • Researchers who have never made data openly available are considering doing so.

In 2017 figshare is partnering with Springer Nature, Wiley and Amazon Web Services to conduct the largest global study on researcher attitudes to open data. This talk will be a preview of the results which are due to be released during open access week (w/c 23rd of October 2017). Figshare have also been using these studies to help shape their data management and dissemination platforms

and engagement programs for publishers and institutions. The talk will conclude with a short demonstration of how we are incorporating feedback from the community to help foster a healthy and sustainable attitude to open science and research.


Dr. Mark Hahnel is the Founder of Figshare, a web-based platform that opens up scientific data to the world, making it available to anyone. He completed his PhD in stem cell biology at Imperial College London, having previously studied genetics in both Newcastle and Leeds. The idea for Figshare was first born in 2010 while Mark was studying at Imperial College London, before launching in 2012 as a portfolio company of Digital Science. He is a passionate and prominent member of the open science movement and its potential to revolutionise the research community.