On Saturday 7 March 2020, the world celebrates Open Data Day.  This international event connects data enthusiasts with the general community, by building solutions to complex social issues using open data.  Each day this week Griffith Library will explore the objectives of the event and celebrate open data used and shared by our researchers to tackle the world’s complex problems. Today we explore open data in health and medicine. 

Infectious disease rates are on the rise in Australia, with more people now dying from septicaemia, HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis. Open data helps health planners prepare for emergencies, which makes responses to health crises more efficient. Data-based decisions are more robust. Shareable data such as these current strains of flu help health services plan and prepare for the worst.  

​The Malaria science community sees open data as a catalyst to innovation and the discovery of new medicines.  Malaria remains one of the most devastating infectious diseases with approximately 212 million infections and 429,000 deaths each year.  Gains made by Antimalaria vaccines are threatened by growing drug resistance. Researchers from Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics share research data with other researchers via the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network WWARN.  This sharing increases the understanding and efficacy of malaria drugs.  

The benefits of open data are many.  Open data can: 

  • democratize access​ 
  • increase transparency​ and integrity 
  • facilitate research 
  • facilitate efficiency and provide support for decisions 
  • help create new data and build public trust in science​ 
  • help businesses and researchers map data visually 

There are numerous risks with not sharing data as detailed in this Times Higher Education article. It may seem hard to manage data, share it securely, or describe it so that others can access and understand it. These problems can be avoided by good data practices at the outset. Check out the Best practice data guidelines for researchers or Talk to our team about making small changes that will make data sharing a breeze later on.