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Open Data expedites translation of research results


No longer just a buzz word, “Open Data” is a strategy being adopted worldwide by governments, funders, and multi-lateral organizations to accelerate science, improve health, and catalyze development.  By definition, Open Data enables public and timely access and re-use of final de-identified data from funded research and programming.  Sharing data expedites translation of research results into applied knowledge and new products to improve the human condition.

The three major non-industry funders of contraceptive research all have open data policies. This week, one of them—the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute of Child Health and Human Development—announced an upgrade to its centralized data sharing resource, DASH (the NICHD Data and Specimen Hub).  Scientists are now able to input final study data directly into the system.  As more researchers contribute data, the breadth of study topics in the repository will grow.

The U.S. Agency for International Development also maintains a public repository of agency-funded, machine-readable data.  Its Development Data Library (DDL) is viewed as “development capital” to be mined to catalyze innovative breakthroughs and inform future programming.

While the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation does not currently maintain a database of funded research findings, its open access policy addresses data sharing. Links to the NICHD DASH and the USAID DDL can be found in the CTI Exchange Resource Library.