Open data are the data collected in the course of scientific research and made accessible on the Internet via open access. Open data can freely and without any restrictions be downloaded, disseminated and re-used in research. It is only required that correct and clear reference should be made to the creator of the data. Open access to research data is important because it
- ensures rational use of state financing since it helps to avoid supporting of repeated research,
- improves and broadens cooperation between different fields of science,
- improves and furthers international cooperation.
In addition to the fact that open data can easily be found on the Internet and used by other scientists, research data can more widely be accessed also due to the possibilities offered by collections of linked data.
Open data can easily be found and linked to other data, thus forming large data and knowledge networks – the semantic web. Re-using and linking of research data allows to monitor the citing of research results in a way similar to the current practice.
In 2015, Estonian Research Council established the Open Science Expert Group which has compiled the general principles and policy recommendations document for open science in Estonia. This document is a systematic approach in the field of open science, where the principles of open science are introduced, the main open science policy options and further activities are indicated. The purpose of the document is to create a common framework and understanding how to handle open science issues in Estonia and to encourage the development of national strategy and institutional policies in open science.