One of the big barriers to both performing and consuming research is the issue of closed doors and ownership of data. Researchers struggle with gaining access to information. Readers of research struggle with gaining access to manuscripts locked away behind expensive subscription fees. Thus, the move to open access publishing is useful on multiple levels. The ability to have access to the best recent research findings is a critical component of best care.
The United Kingdom has taken a postive step with data from the public sector and goverment commisioned research by moving away from proprietary copyright laws and adopting the very popular Creative Commons licenses. They recently launched a new website, data.gov.uk as a resource for gaining access to this information. People developing the information will also have an easier time securing the protection of their data using the easy stardards of the Creative Commons rules. This certainly seems like a win-win for everyone.
By the way, this is really about opening data up to “the cloud” and I think we’ll see more and more opportunities to connect and free up data. To that end, you have to love the presence of the “Semantic Web” definition on the landing page for the UK’s new site.
What kind of data is available?
Here’s a data set to chew on: “The patient journey post hip fracture: What constitutes rehabilitation?“