7 March 2016

7 March 2016

People can find, request, and share research data with the Open Data Button

The Open Access Button today announces the beta release of the Open Data Button, a tool to help people find the data underlying research papers and request the release of new data. Every day, researchers cannot access the research data needed to verify results and build on others’ research. Open research data increases the reproducibility and transparency of research, and enables greater innovation. The Open Data Button app is available for Chrome and can be downloaded for free

“Getting data off hard drives and made public and reusable is one of the important challenges in research,” said Joseph McArthur, co-founder of the Open Access Button and Assistant Director of the Right to Research Coalition. “The Open Data Button will tackle this head on by encouraging, facilitating and rewarding data sharing.”

The Open Data Button beta helps users get access to research data that is already online or request that data be made accessible. When a user wants access to the data behind a paper, they can make a data request via the app. The app will then see if the data is already available online, and if not, it will contact the author and invite them to make their research data openly available through the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework. Once a dataset is delivered, the author will be rewarded with an Open Data Badge to recognise their efforts. The Open Science Framework identifies, preserves and shares data for all disciplines.

Beyond making individual datasets available, the Open Data Button will also support systemic change. The Open Data Button will track and map user stories that can be searched, linked to, and embedded in order to support storytelling based advocacy. Advocates for open research data will be able to use the data and stories to campaign for systematic change that will benefit everyone.

“Without access to data people can’t do research, or truly trust what they’re reading. Open data allows for truly frictionless innovation,” said Ross Mounce, Cambridge University postdoc scientist. “The hassle of obtaining suitable data from published studies is often a significant and unnecessary drain on research, the Open Data button can help make that easier.”

Every request made through the Open Data Button will be public, with its status indicated. We believe researchers should share their data — especially when the public pays to create it — and the Open Data Button will help create more accountability in this area. Research communities can help make particular datasets accessible by signing up to support a request. Those supporting a specific request will then receive a copy of the data once it’s made available.

The Open Data Button app builds on the Open Access Button. For over two years the Open Access Button has tracked over 15,000 stories of the impact of paywalls, connected users to journal articles, and advocated for open research. The Open Data Button app was built by the Open Access Button’s dedicated volunteer team of students and early career researchers, with funding from the Center for Open Science, the Open Societies Foundation, and the invaluable help of an international community.

The Open Access Button helps users find free, alternative, but often hard to find, copies of research they otherwise couldn’t afford. When a user searches for a research article, the Button app first checks for a free copy, and if one isn’t available, it will soon employ a number of novel strategies to make one available. Users also have the option to share why they are seeking a particular article, which creates an interactive map of people who need research around the world.

Follow the conversation on Twitter at @OA_Button and #opendatabutton.


A press pack, including background, images, and more can be found here

Background: The Open Data Button app is built by the team of students and early career researchers behind the Open Access Button. It is supported by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and the Right to Research Coalition. The Open Data Button was developed in partnership with Cottage Labs LLC and with funding from the Center for Open Science. Funding was also provided by the Open Society Foundation to support advocacy work.

More information on Open Data is available at: