Open Data Button Beta Launching Next Week for Open Data Day

22 January 2016

22 January 2016

Hidden data is hindering research, and we’re tired of it. Next week we’ll release the Open Data Button beta as part of Open Data Day. The Open Data Button will help people find, release, and share the data behind papers. We need your support to share, test, and improve the Open Data Button. Today, we’re going to provide some in depth info about the tool.

You’ll be able to download the free Open Data Button on the 29th of February. Follow the launch conversation on Twitter and at#opendatabutton.

How the Open Data Button works

You will be able to download the Open Data Button on Chrome, and later on Firefox. When you need the data supporting a paper (even if it’s behind a paywall), push the Button. If the data has already been made available through the Open Data Button, we’ll give you a link. If it hasn’t, you’ll be able to start a request for the data. Eventually, we want to search a variety of other sources for it — but can’t yet (read on, we need your help with that).

The request will be sent to the author. We know sharing data can be hard and there’s sometimes good reasons not to. The author will be able to respond to it by saying how long it’ll take to share the data — or if they can’t. If the data is already available, the author can simply share a URL to the dataset. If it isn’t, they can attach files to a response for us to make available. Files shared with us will be deposited in the Open Science Framework for identification and archiving. The Open Science Framework supports data sharing for all disciplines. As much metadata as possible will be obtained from the paper, the rest we’ll ask the author for.

The progress of this request is tracked through our new “request” pages. On request pages others can support a request and be sent a copy of the data when it’s available. We’ll map requests, and stories will be searchable — both will now be embeddable objects.

Once available, we’ll send data to people who’ve requested it. You can award an Open Data Badge to the author if there’s enough supporting information to reproduce the data’s results.

At first we’ll only have a Chrome add-on, but support for Firefox will be available from Firefox 46. Support for a bookmarklet will also be provided, but we don’t have a release date yet.

How the Open Data Button works; tl:dr

Click the Button on a paper when you want the data. If data is already available it’ll be given to you, otherwise a request will be started. Authors can respond to requests via email simply by attaching files or sharing a URL.

How you can help during the Beta (and beyond)

Primarily, we need you to use the beta and provide feedback to us. The more, the better. If you ever wanted to try and get the data supporting key papers in your field, now would be the time.

If you want to do more, write about the tool and share it with your friends (sorry, we know that’s a cliche, but it’s true). Next week we’ll put out a press release, but please do email us with questions. Finally, you could also join “Team Button,” but more on that next week.

Open Data Day: Driving the Open Data Button Forwards

We know that how the Open Data Button will work at launch will be far from ideal. Immediately are some big issues we’ll need to address:

  1. Finding authors’ emails from papers will not be possible in many cases.
  2. Even if we find an author’s email, it may not be a current email address.

However, it’s better in your hands than in our heads. To drive the Open Data Button forwards, we need the community’s help. We’re focusing our thoughts, and soon our development, in a couple of crucial areas:

  1. Finding and integrating sources of Open Research Data and linking them to associated journal articles
  2. Resources for authors on making their data available
  3. Mobilising communities to help make data available
  4. Exploring how we can create incentives for authors to share data

Additionally, the Open Data Button site is built with a number of different ways for people to give crucial feedback — just explore the site. Our code and content will be available through Github, including the emails we’re sending authors.

Right now, we’re focusing on the task ahead — launching the beta. After that, expect a post fleshing out these questions. If you’d like to join our sprint on Open Data Day or help us answer these questions, sign up here. For Open Data Day, we’ll also post our thoughts on the Open Data Button’s future.

What this means for the Open Access Button

Many of the features developed for the Open Data Button can be applied to the Open Access Button. It will take some time though. We hope over the next six weeks we’ll be able to roll out these changes (and more) to the Open Access Button.


You’ll be able to download the Open Data Button beta for Chrome on February 29th. We need the community to help us improve it — sign up here to help. Follow the launch conversation on Twitter and at #opendatabutton.