A Decade of Progress: Insights of Open Data Practices in Biosciences at the University of Edinburgh


  • Haya Deeb Centre for Engineering Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Edinburgh https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7044-7321
  • Hwee Yun Wong University of Edinburgh
  • Trisha Usman University of Edinburgh
  • Megan A. M. Kutzer University of Edinburgh
  • Tomasz Zieliński University of Edinburgh
  • Andrew J. Millar University of Edinburgh




The realm of scientific research has evolved beyond traditional publications, recognizing the intrinsic value of the underlying data as a fundamental component. In this context, Open Data emerges as a pivotal element of open research culture, embodying the principles of transparency, collaboration, and resource optimization. This poster critically analyses the progress and current standing of the University of Edinburgh in embracing and implementing open data practices.

The University of Edinburgh, a vanguard in academic research, has been instrumental in advocating the Culture of Open Data. This paradigm shift in research methodology, accentuated by the introduction of the new open research policy in 2021, has placed a significant emphasis on the openness and FAIRness (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability) of research data. This poster will explore the strides made by the biosciences researchers over the past ten years in aligning with these principles.

Our analysis begins with a review of biosciences research between 2014 and 2022. Approximately 6% (193 papers) of the published papers during this period were subjected to a manual assessment of their data-sharing practices. Unlike Roche et al. (2013), who sampled from a publication list where each article had some data archived, this study involved selecting articles while being blinded as to whether any data was shared. This evaluation was grounded in four main criteria reflecting the Openness and FAIRness of research data: Completeness, Reusability, Accessibility, and Licencing. The findings from this analysis reveal a positive trajectory, indicating an overall enhancement in these criteria over the years. Notably, there has been a discernible increase in the completeness of data shared in publications, coupled with significant improvements in the reusability aspect. This suggests that researchers are not only sharing more data but are doing so in a more effective and user-friendly manner.

Interestingly, the study unveils a disparity in data-sharing practices within different types of research data. Genome data, for instance, was shared more frequently compared to image data. Furthermore, the presence of a data availability statement or the sharing of preprint papers correlated with higher scores across all the four criteria, particularly in terms of completeness. This correlation underscores a more thorough approach to data sharing when specific guidelines or practices are in place.

In conclusion, this poster will not only highlight the progressive journey of Biosciences at The University of Edinburgh towards embracing open data but will also address the challenges and lessons learned along the way. The concluding segment will focus on the best practices that researchers should adopt to continue this upward trend in Open Data Sharing.