Mendeley Brainstorm: Open Data – The Wave of the Future?

Is the future of data more open?
Is the future of data more open?

“Pirate Politics” are on the march. The Pirate Party of Iceland tripled their representation in the October election. Many organisations, including the Mozilla Foundation, are clamouring for copyright reform to allow more data sharing. Is Open Data the wave of the future? What are the downsides? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes January 11, 2017.

Pirates on the March

The Pirate Party of Iceland tripled their representation on October 29. Part of their appeal in a country as technology literate as Iceland may be their emphasis on open data and reform of copyright laws to allow the free sharing of information.

A Rebellion?

The Pirates’ success may be part of a wider reaction to the increasing restrictions afforded by copyright. For example, the tractor manufacturer John Deere recently argued in court that its ownership of the software in its vehicles extended beyond the point of their products’ sale. The Mozilla Foundation has also set up a campaign whose aim is to make copyright less stringent.

What Next?

As cultural guru Stewart Brand said, “On the one hand…information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable…on the other hand, information wants to be free because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time.” Is the future of data open? What are the positives and negatives of a more open paradigm? Tell us!

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research.  We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.


COYLE, D. (2016). How the digital age cuts through notions of material ownership. The Financial Times. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Oct. 2016].

DE FREYTAS-TAMURA, K. (2016). Iceland’s Prime Minister Resigns, After Pirate Party Makes Strong Gains. New York Times. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Nov. 2016].

TURNER, Fred (2006). From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

14 thoughts on “Mendeley Brainstorm: Open Data – The Wave of the Future?

  1. Academics who are industry sponsored may get caught in the middle of this. Some journals are moving to make it compulsory to show your data, but companies are still very much against sharing.

  2. Fundamental data on the properties of a material, or system, should be open, and saved in databanks. Processed data need not to be open.

  3. The future of data must be open. The question is how to address the problem of sharing data with sensitive nature that might be critical for a company while competing for market share. Non-disclosure agreements are part of the solution, but transnational projects standard operational practices have to be developed as well so as to be able to manage possible conflicts of interest.

  4. Everybody needs Open Data but , we have take up the risks associated with it before distributing the data . Then Open Data works good.

  5. Research is paid by public money, authors almost never get their remuneration and all they want are visibility and open access. Still there must be some incentive for publishers, otherwise they substitute it with non-commercial profits which are not transparent at all.

  6. Open Data is a movement that focuses on the altruism of sharing, while simultaneously setting a standard assumption of transparency. The secondary power of the Open Data movement is to make corruption more difficult to accomplish, by the shadows cast when organizations are not open with their information. Open Data will also ensure the preservation of data that can become ‘at-risk,’ such as climate data during the times of destructive political administrations.

  7. Open access to data is the easiest way to accelerate change and bring progress in science and technology, and thus the economy.

    We have seen it with the open source movement, to enable others to build on top of what you have built and taken it one step further.

    Technology, most likely blockchain, will enable quality peer-reviewed journals to be completely free for authors and readers alike. Even right now paywalls blocking access to papers are practically useless if you know where to look at.

    In the meantime, while the publishing industry tries to figure out how to make regulation&politics to work; innovators, change-makers and start-ups with a low budget will continue to find other ways in accessing those papers to find the next stepping stone for developing technology.

    Removing the barriers to knowledge is the path of least resistance and the ultimate win-win for everyone.

  8. Open data is desirable. The mantra of information soceity is to create environment where availability and accessibility are easy. Besides, the SDGs emphasis on “leave no one behind” indicates that open access will benefit everybody, especially those in the underserved and poor communities.

    With open data, there will be fulillment of social inclusion and participation of all genre in information dissemination. Yes, let what is known be shared for improvement of life and functional existence. Let learning and sharing be upheld through open data.

  9. When we talk about Open Data, there are really two separate issues: the sharing of raw data and open access to publications.

    Sharing of raw data is incredibly valuable for the scientific community. Any group that chooses to publish polished interpretations of their data (such as a paper) must also be responsible for the quality of the raw data and/or analysis that went into it. Because researchers may have unrealized biases in data analysis and interpretation, it is vital that the raw data also be available for examination.

    Open access is a thornier issue. While the benefits (greater spread of knowledge, greater inclusion in science, greater connection with the public) are valuable, our current system of publication does not incentivize open access. Treating the scientific publication process as a public good, as academic research is treated, may therefore be a valuable approach to solve this issue of incentives.

  10. A potential downside to open data is the exacerbation of social and economic problems.

    Open data means that everyone has equal potential to use the data, however it does not mean everyone has the financial and educational resources required to make effective use of the data. This can result in people who do not have the means to make effective use of open data are taken advantage of by people who have greater financial and educational resources. This occurred in Bangalore where newly-digitized and freely-accessible land records were used by well-off firms to exploit marginalized landowners [1].

    Open data might also prompt corporate irresponsibility; Dr. Joanne Bates had a good example concerning corporate use of open weather data: If a business sensitive to uncertain climate conditions has open access accurate weather data and thus circumvents climatic uncertainty, they may be less likely to be invested in climate change prevention [2].


  11. based on recent outputs, we cannot overemphasize the influence of open data. It will really expose the world populace to the outside world and beyond. I believe this process is come to stay and change the world of information and communication

  12. Thank you for all your entries; we’ll announce a winner as soon as possible.

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