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Open Access

The purpose of this guide is to provide resources and information to the UMass Medical School community about open access and new models of scholarly publishing.

What Is Open Data?

"Open data" is data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike (from the Open Data Handbook). The Open Data movement began with efforts to improve access to government data (see  This page focuses on open scientific data: the primary research data published within or alongside research papers.

Check out this Open Data factsheet from SPARC!

SPARC Open Data factsheet

Why Share Research Data?


(Image credit)

"Openness increases transparency and reliability, facilitates more effective collaboration, accelerates the pace of discovery, and fosters broader and more equitable access to scientific knowledge and to the research process itself."
— National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Open Science by Design: Realizing a Vision for 21st Century Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.


  • Allows data to be audited


  • Data can be reused or recombined in unexpected ways
  • Data can be used to plan new studies
  • New markets for services related to curation, preservation, analysis, visualization



Success stories of how open data has made a difference

Open Data in eScholarship@UMassChan

eScholarship@UMassChan can serve as a home for research data files that support scholarly publications, including dissertations, theses, and journal articles that must meet requirements for the preservation and dissemination of data.

Benefits of sharing your data through eScholarship@UMassChan:

  • it is free to you
  • it can accommodate large file sizes and a variety of file formats
  • it can apply embargoes for access controls
  • it can provide a persistent identifier, such as a DOI
  • it can provide a Creative Commons license
  • it supplies usage metrics to help measure research impact
  • it includes sufficient metadata to enable discovery and reuse
  • it is a redundant copy of your data in the event that something should happen to your original
  • it is managed by the library

View this example of a data set housed in eScholarship@UMassChan

Screen capture of a dataset housed in eScholarship@UMMS: Data from: The Vitamin D Status in Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Open Data Resources

Data Repositories for the Biological Sciences

There are many options for publicly sharing data sets as a condition of publication, including government-sponsored repositories, disciplinary repositories, third-party repositories, and the UMass Chan institutional repository, eScholarship@UMassChan.

For large datasets, here are selected data repositories for the biological sciences:

Data Journals

Data journals are publications whose purpose is to expose and share research data, and to promote its re-use.  Examples of data journals:

Registries and Lists

Publicly Available Health and Social Science Data Collections

Other Sources for Data