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Open Data

This guide includes information about where to find data sets that are free to use. It includes information about open data principles and practice as well.

About this Guide

Use this guide as a starting point for finding free datasets online. This guide is for students, researchers, faculty, and anyone interested in analyzing data for a project or any purpose. Some data is available through subscription costs and paywalls, but this guide will not delve into those resources.

What is Open Data?

Open data is freely accessible and can be readily shared and edited by anyone. It is data that can be used without financial, legal, or technical barriers. Open datasets carry open licenses which give researchers the ability to reuse and redistribute the information.

Free datasets can be found in online storehouses known as data repositories. These repositories are created and managed by scholarly societies, government agencies, academic institutions, and sometimes organizations and private entities. There are repositories that provide all of their data for free to anyone while others are only partially open. The same is true of contributing or depositing data. There are repositories for all researchers to contribute their work, while others are only open to a particular community such as faculty of a university.

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Open Data Guides

Would you like more information about what open data is and why it is important? Start with these resources:

Scholarly Communication Librarian

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Emma Wood

Claire T. Carney Library
Room 134
285 Old Westport Rd
Dartmouth, MA 02747