Open Data

Open Data at VCE

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Henry David Thoreau had no notion of global climate change when he recorded flowering and leaf-out dates in Concord, but 150 years later these data have been used to document the ecological impacts of a warmer world. How will our data be used now or far into the future?

Most scientists have viewed the data that they collect as something belonging to them, and have guarded it zealously, either out of fear that they would be scooped by another scientist or out of a sense that the data reflected too much hard work to simply give away. The consequence is a staggering loss of potential information, simply because we can rarely foresee to what use our data might be put in the future, were we to make it available.

We have always recognized that sharing our data is in everyone’s best interest, and have committed substantial staff time to making our observations publically available through platforms like eBird and eButterfly. We have committed to archiving all of our scientific data on publicly available repositories for open access. The scope of this undertaking is significant – it takes time and money, not to mention a substantial shift in how we as scientists think about our work. These challenges are one reason why so few organizations of our size have fully embraced open science to the extent that VCE has. We believe that the benefits of the open-science model, though, outweigh the costs, and we are proud to be in the vanguard. We hope you’ll find some of our data useful for your work as we compile and provide access to it. If you don’t see a dataset here that you believe we might have available, please contact us.

Open Data