We often discuss publications and publishing open access (OA) materials in these news items, but the OA movement can be a part of many other steps of the research process. Many researchers choose to make the datasets their research is based on open access as well. This can be done as part of a funding institution’s requirements, to increase transparency and reproducibility, or simply because they wish to make their data easily available to other researchers.

One way students and faculty can find these datasets is through Google Dataset Search. Out of beta in early 2020, Google Dataset Search can be used to find links to datasets that have been published on the web and described via the schema.org standard. The internet does not include all datasets, and not all are described using this standard, but Google does claim that over 25 million datasets are indexed for searching.

The initial interface should look familiar to Google users and uses a simple keyword search. From there the results can be sorted by the time they were last updated, their download format, if they can be used for commercial or non-commercial purposes, general topic, and limited to freely available resources. While not all the linked datasets are freely available to users (and therefore considered open access), many are. Government agencies especially tend to publish their datasets as open access, but many other researchers and institutions do as well.  

Anyone wishing to make their own materials (including datasets) more readily available can often place preprints or even published articles and materials on ISU ReD. We are happy to answer any questions you might have and discuss what options are available. If you wish to discuss this further, please contact Milner Library’s Scholarly Communication Team.

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