In the digital age, data is the raw material on which discoveries are built, and unfettered access to research data, whether in the Life Sciences or the Social Sciences. It is crucial to accelerating progress in research. Data plays a central role in our ability to help solve the Coronavirus crisis, predict and counter natural disasters, to understand human biology, or to develop advances in computing technology.

Despite its tremendous importance, today, research data remains largely fragmented—isolated across millions of individual computers, blocked by disparate technical, legal and financial restrictions.

The amount of scientific and scholarly data grows exponentially each year, yet we still lack the infrastructure, policies, and practices to harness this vital resource. While some high profile projects—such as the Human Genome Project and the Large Hadron Collider—make their data openly accessible, too often data isn’t shared beyond those who generate it. The Internet was built by researchers to share data, but data sharing isn’t yet the norm in research. Research data also needs to be FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable or Reusable).

The tremendous gap between what is possible with digital technology and our outdated infrastructure has led to the call for Open Data.

The benefits of Open and FAIR Data are clear.