Open Data


Sharing and protection of data links closely with almost every aspect of society including economic growth and identity. We intend the term 'data' broadly, to include information and understanding. Many aspects are relevant to this topical and complicated area, including: knowledge generation, intellectual property, mass media, new media, informed consent, research publishing and international relations.

Work Plan

Collaborating with multiple European Young Academies and the Global Young Academy we are contributing to a position statement on Open Access intended to inform the European agenda on 'Open Science' and 'Open Knowledge'. We are also developing an article, drawing on material from our advice papers and panel debate on 'Open Data in Government, Innovation and Research'.


Policy advice:

Science as a Public Enterprise (PDF).

Open Access in the Post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) (PDF).

Response to European Commission Consulation on 'Science 2.0': Science in Transition (PDF), referenced in the final consulation report (PDF).

Panel Debate: Open Data in Government, Innovation and Research

More data have been collected in recent years than in previous human history, and can be instantaneously communicated - including cancer patient DNA sequences, traffic accident reports, academic publications, or the contents of your inbox. Indeed, data sharing has the potential to touch every aspect of our lives, simultaneously raising concerns and offering huge benefits. For example, growth in the private sector is stimulated by access to public data. Where and how do openness and concealment meet? What makes large datasets a gold-mine or landfill? How can Open Data work for business? Who should have access and why? An expert panel illuminated the debate:

  • Geoffrey Boulton OBE, FRS, FRSE Chair, Royal Society Policy Report on 'Science as an Open Enterprise'
  • David Carr Policy Adviser, The Wellcome Trust
  • William St. Clair FBA, FRSL Author of 'The Political Economy of Reading' and chairman of Open Book Publishers
  • Roger Halliday Chief Statistician at the Scottish Government
  • Donald Taylor Lead Software Specialist at Selex ES

ScienceOpen: Rethinking Peer Review

A presentation and discussion with Stephanie Dawson, CEO of the journal ScienceOpen, which is at the leading edge of reforms in scientific publishing. Stephanie's presentation is available here


Ian Overton chairs the group and can be contacted at To reach everyone in the group, mail to:

Our Members


Sophie Ellison

Sophie Ellison, Senior Consultant at Blake Stevenson, undertakes social research and evaluation that informs policy, practice and service development within the public and voluntary sectors. She chairs the Scottish Branch of the Social Research Association.

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