Value of Research Data
A report written in 2014 estimated the economic value of Australia’s research data to be up to $6 billion a year. Most of this value is currently untapped.
This is why we encourage researchers and governments to make their data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR), so that it can be used to stimulate research, innovation and industry. End-users of research data include industry, businesses, governments, the education sector and the general public.
Exploring the Value of Research Data
Assessment reports have been commissioned by the ARDC, CSIRO and international institutions to assess the potential and value of research data in more detail.
- Investigating the Link Between Research Data and Impact (2019), report commissioned by ARDC.
- Understanding and unlocking the value of public research data: OzNome social architecture report (2017), CSIRO report.
- Open Research Data Report: Report to the Australian National Data Service (2014), commissioned by an ARDC predecessor organisation.
- Costs and Benefits of Data Provision: Report to the Australian National Data Service (2011), commissioned by an ARDC predecessor organisation.
- Data-driven discovery: the value and impact of EMBL-EBI managed data resources, published in October 2021 (estimates the return on investment in research, and development depending on EMBL-EBI managed data, is worth £1.3 billion annually)
- The Value and Impact of the European Bioinformatics Institute, report published in January 2016 (put the benefits to users and funders at an estimated £1 billion per year worldwide, more than 20 times the direct operational cost of the institute)
- The Economic Impact of Open Data: What Do We Already Know?, a 2015 article by Jeni Tennison, Open Data Institute.
Data, Engagement and Impact
Australia’s first national research Engagement and Impact Assessment took place in 2018 to assess how well researchers engage with end users of research. It found universities were delivering and translating their research into economic, social and other benefits to industries and end users. The results are in the Engagement and Impact Assessment 2018-19 National Report in the ARC Data Portal, which also contains highly rated impact studies and assessment outcomes.
The Australian Research Council’s Engagement and Impact 2018 Framework defines research engagement as “the interaction between researchers and research end-users outside of academia, for the mutually beneficial transfer of knowledge, technologies, methods or resources”. It defines research impact as “the contribution that research makes to the economy, society, environment and culture beyond the contribution to academic research”.
Research data is an enabler and pathway to this engagement and impact. It’s a critical information asset that provides an important platform for collaboration between the research sector and the business sector, as well as applications in public policy, education, and citizen engagement. Data sharing can play a pivotal role in this collaboration.
Case Studies: Contribution of Data to Research Impact
The ARC Impact Case Studies dataset is collated from submissions by Australian universities to the ARC’s 2018 Engagement and Impact Assessment. It provides rich insights into how research has been translated into impact beyond academia, including this sample subset of case studies where data played a pivotal role in generating research impact.
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