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Open Data and Open Access Articles: Exploring Connections in the Life Sciences

  • Sarah C. Williams (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)


Objectives: This small-scale study explores the current state of connections between open data and open access (OA) articles in the life sciences.

Methods: This study involved 44 openly available life sciences datasets from the Illinois Data Bank that had 45 related research articles. For each article, I gathered the OA status of the journal and the article on the publisher website and checked whether the article was openly available via Unpaywall and Research Gate. I also examined how and where the open data was included in the HTML and PDF versions of the related articles.

Results: Of the 45 articles studied, less than half were published in Gold/Full OA journals, and while the remaining articles were published in Gold/Hybrid journals, none of them were OA. This study found that OA articles pointed to the Illinois Data Bank datasets similarly to all of the related articles, most commonly with a data availability statement containing a DOI.

Conclusions: The findings indicate that Gold OA in hybrid journals does not appear to be a popular option, even for articles connected to open data, and this study emphasizes the importance of data repositories providing DOIs, since the related articles frequently used DOIs to point to the Illinois Data Bank datasets. This study also revealed concerns about free (not licensed OA) access to articles on publisher websites, which will be a significant topic for future research.

Keywords: open data, open access, OA, data sharing, data repository

How to Cite:

Williams, S. C., (2020) “Open Data and Open Access Articles: Exploring Connections in the Life Sciences”, Journal of eScience Librarianship 9(1): 3. doi: https://doi.org/10.7191/jeslib.2020.1184

Rights: © 2020 Williams. This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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Published on
09 Sep 2020