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Open research policy needs stronger rules and greater rewards

Principles alone will not drive the necessary changes in culture and attitudes around research data, says Daniel Spichtinger.

Data is perhaps the defining resource of the 21st century. Its magic lies in the possibility for any dataset to be reused, including for purposes other than its collectors intended. It is therefore no surprise that the uses and potential of open data feature prominently in the European Commission’s 2017 review of the digital single market strategy.

In research and innovation policy, several funding streams in the EU’s Horizon 2020 Framework programme were part of an open research data pilot between 2014 and 2016. This aimed to maximise access to and reuse of research data without compromising intellectual property, privacy or security. The pilot was extended to all Horizon 2020 streams in the 2017 work programme, meaning that projects have to provide a data management plan, outlining what data they will generate and how they will curate and preserve the data.

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