State of Open Data

Since 2016 Figshare, Springer Nature and Digital Science have partnered on the State of Open Data report, based on a survey tracking researcher attitudes and behaviours towards open data sharing and research data management.  

The most recent survey launched in May this year, and with the global pandemic we took the opportunity to ask researchers how COVID-19 was impacting their ability to carry out research, and their views on reuse of data and collaboration. We wanted to get a better understanding of how researcher behaviour was being affected.  

When the survey was conducted much of the world was under lockdown which has since eased, however, fears of a second wave are growing. The data is gathered from surveys dating from 24th May to 18th June, n=3,436.

Some of the key findings

90% of researchers
were impacted by
the outbreak of COVID-19

- Extremely impacted (cannot do any of their work)

24% - Very impacted (cannot undertake most of their work)

- Impacted (cannot do some of their work)

- Slightly impacted (can do most of their work as usual)

- Not impacted (can maintain all of their work commitments)

Field variation in those reporting extremely or very impacted: Chemistry - 47% Biology - 39% Medicine - 36% Materials Science - 36% Physical sciences - 24% Engineering - 24% Earth & Environmental Science - 22% HSS - 20% Other - 25%

Approximately 1 in 3 researchers within the medical fields have, or are likely to, repurpose existing grants to investigate COVID-19 related questions

Other key findings

Over a third (32%) of academic researchers report that their research has been ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19.  This is higher than those working in professional settings (26%).

The disciplines affected most by COVID-19 at this point in time are those working in Chemistry (47%), Biology (39%), Medicine (36%) and Materials Science (36%). The lowest level of impact was reported in Humanities and Social Sciences (20%)

43% of those surveyed have already or are likely to repurpose their grant to some extent for COVID-19 research

Lockdown is seen by half of respondents as ‘extremely’ or ‘somewhat’ likely to result in re-use of open data provided by other labs, and 65% expect to reuse their own data.

More than a third of researchers say they expect to see more collaboration as a result of COVID-19; for those in countries like Brazil and India where the impact of COVID-19 on research appears significant, around half expect collaboration to increase as a result.

Those researching in Medicine and/or working in a clinical setting were more likely to state they expect to see collaborations increasing as a result of COVID-19, compared to the wider sample.

The data behind the State of Open Data Report

The trends

Read the full State of Open Data

The history of the State of Open Data

State of Open Data 2019State of Open Data 2018State of Open Data 2017State of Open Data 2016State of Open Data - the collection