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Open Science

What does open research data mean?

Research data refers to data produced or utilised in scientific or artistic research that can be used to validate and, if necessary, repeat research results. Openness of research data refers to the findability, accessibility, usability and shareability of research data and related metadata. Openness enhances the credibility of scientific and artistic research and makes it possible to reuse data in the future.

Open  access  to  research  data  requires  that ethical aspects and legislation as well as the future findability and reuse of data are considered already when planning the data gathering.

Advantages of opening research data

  • You can facilitate re-use of the data and ensure its durability
  • You can increase the visibility and impact of your research by rendering it possible for others to refer to the data
  • You can find new cooperation partners
  • You will gain merit as a researcher and can add the open datasets to your CV
  • You can increase the transparency of your research and facilitate its evaluation.
  • You meet the research funders' requirements of opening research data or the related metadata.

Openness of research data in UL

The openess of research data is guided by the Data Policy of the University of Lapland.

The principle: ‘as open as possible and as closed as necessary’

  • At the University of Lapland, research data related to publicly funded published research is, as a rule, open and available for reuse.
  • When opening research data, we consider agreements, research ethical principles, information security, data protection, legal requirements, funder requirements, the best interest of the university community and the research participants, information sensitivity, and commercial interests.
  • Responsible research data management is generally informed by the FAIR principles.

Opening research data

  • Research datasets are deposited and opened in a reliable discipline- or field-specific data repository or archive that provides a permanent identifier for the dataset and makes it possible to refer to the data in question.
  • The University requires researchers to enter the metadata concerning research datasets in the University of Lapland’s Research Portal LaCRIS.

Responsibilities of the researcher

  • The University requires researchers to make a research data management plan during the research planning phase. The plan will be updated and revised when necessary during the research process.
  • Ownership, user rights, terms of use, and authorship of research datasets should be agreed on as early as possible.
  • It is the responsibility of the members of the university community to familiarise themselves with the guidelines and instructions for research data management and opening of data, as well as to plan and implement research data management in their own scientific and artistic work.


  • Research projects are required to include data management costs in the project’s financing plan.

The University is responsible for creating the preconditions for implementing responsible research data management, providing guidelines and instructions for research data management, and providing training and support.

The FAIR principles

Following the FAIR principles promotes quality of research and research datasets as well as re-use and openness of data. FAIR stands for findable, accessible, interoperable (i.e. something that can be transferred and combined) and re-usable. Opening of research data is not a prerequisite for compliance with the FAIR principles. The data can also partially satisfy the FAIR principles.

In practice, the FAIR principles can be satisfied, for example, by

  • providing detailed descriptions of the data
  • using open and durable file formats
  • publishing the data and/or its metadata
  • obtaining a persistent identifier for your dataset
  • obtaining a license to determine re-use of the data.


Picture: Tampere University (CC BY 4.0.)

How to open research data?

You can open research data or parts of it, either fully or by determining for what purpose or how the data can be reused. Please note that ethical and legal issues can prevent or restrict opening of data.

Early in the research process, plan what parts of the data can be opened and published. If the data or parts of it cannot be opened, give reasons for this in your data management plan. Publishing the metadata of research data will satisfy the funders’ requirements for openness of data in situations in which opening of the data is not possible for a justified reason.

  • Early in the research process, select a service that is suitable for sharing and storing your research data.
  • Familiarise yourself with the requirements of the storage and publication service.
  • Pay attention to the research funder’s requirements.
  • Make sure that reasons related to e.g. data protection, copyrights, or agreements do not prevent opening of the data.
  • Describe and document the research data carefully. The data must be such that others can understand and use them.
  • Anonymize the data if necessary.
  • Make sure to obtain a persistent identifier for your data.
  • Determine user rights for your data by obtaining a license for it.

Where can research data be opened?

Research data should, as a rule, be opened in a discipline- or field-specific data repository where researchers in your field will find the data. Alternatively, data can be opened in a general data repository. The University of Lapland has no research data repository.

When choosing a data repository, pay attention to the following points:

  • the data repository is known and used by researchers in your field
  • the data repository provides a persistent identifier for your research data
  • computer readable metadata related to the research data will be published and the data repository uses a well-known metadata standard
  • the data repository has a reliability certificate
  • you are able to select conditions for re-use of the data.

Services for opening, describing and searching

Finnish data archives and services

Other data archives and services

Help finding the archive