How to open research data

When making research data openly accessible, the data needs to be in a form that an outsider can understand and utilise. A thoroughly devised data management plan is instructive already in its data-gathering phase and makes it easier to open. Data to be opened requires being a simple and explicit unity. You would do good to publish your research data in such a data archive that potential users would locate easily.

Opening data step by step:

  1. Choose the data or the part of it that you planned to open.
  2. Find out, if there are any ethical, juridical or contractual limitations to open the data.
  3. Describe opening the data in your data management plan in order acknowledge the requirements to open it when gathering your data. Define the phase of the research project in which you wish to open your data.
  4. If needed, anonymise your data.
  5. For your data, it recommended to choose an open file format which requires no commercial software and which is compatible with as many operating systems as possible.
  6. Make sure that metadata is available to locate your data. Describe the data produced and obtain persistent identifiers (URN, DOI) for your data items.
  7. Define the rights to use your data by licensing your research data.
  8. Make your data openly accessible by storing it into an open data archive (data archives of universities, research institutes, national or international discipline-based or general information archives) or by publishing it in open data journals.
  9. Advertise your open data in social media (e.g. ResearchGate,, Mendeley) and add the open data information into your CV, publication list and your website.

Ethical and juridical matters may limit opening research data in full extent:


For more information:

The Finnish Academy's data management plan, University level Guidelines / UEF

Open Science and Research Handbook (ATT): 

Citing data

The information security policies of the University of Eastern Finland

Data Journal Directory / Finnish Committee for Research Data

CSC Services for Science / CSC

Open Data Handbook / Open Knowledge International

Managing and Sharing Data: Best Practice For Researcher / UK Data Archive

Nine simple ways to make it easier to (re)use your data / White et al. 2013