Open Data | Edulab

Open Data

Edul@b Open Data Approach & Policy

Why Open Data at Edul@b?

Open Science is the movement that advocates for a more public and accessible science (DG CONNECT EUROPEAN COMMISSION, 2013; Fecher & Friesike, 2014) and has progressively encompassed new researchers’ practices and identities that go beyond the idea of digital science towards open and social activities (Nielsen, 2012; Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2016; Weller, 2011). In the Educational Technology sector, Open Science is also regarded as a shorthand for the trans­formative intersection of digital content, networked distribution and open practices [5]. Authors have conceptualized theoreti­cal frameworks and epistemological approaches to analyze the relationship between scholarly practice and technology, and have explored new forms of scholarship fos­tered by social media and social network sites (Li & Greenhow, 2015; Manca & Ranieri, 2017; Veletsianos & Shepherdson, 2015).

In this scenario, Open Data [OD] plays a crucial role, since data are one of the most basic components of research despite format differences in scientific disciplines (Borgman, 2015). Opening up data is a recent concern for policy makers and researchers as the basis for good open science practices (Molloy, 2011). In fact, data-driven research encompasses a massive production of digitalized data, which appropriate communication and sharing, implying new discoveries and more balanced efforts from the community of researchers. A common factor underlying these new practices concerns the relevance of promoting open data circulation and reuse, which is mostly a social form of knowledge sharing and construction. However, while data sharing is being strongly promoted by policy making and in disciplines like Physics and Genomics is a consolidated practice, open data sharing is much less developed in social sciences (Borgman, 2015). Specifically, the situation in Educational Technology and Networked Learning is at its infancy (Raffaghelli & Manca, 2019)

After a year of reflection, training and debate, Edul@b decided to launch the Open Research Data approach, applicable to all research projects and activities. The decision taken by the group was also supported by the advancement in the discussion and institutional strategy adopted by UOC on Open Science (see for example the launching on the Micro-MOOC on Open Science by Pastora Martínez Samper, also part of the Expert Group on Open Science at the European University Association).

Our approach to Open Data

All Edul@b researchers and research assistants have committed to publish Open Data jointly with publications, being these of Restricted or Open Access.

Moreover, each Open Data object will be cited in the main publication. We wish to promote a culture of consultation and reuse. Over our own experience, PhD students and colleagues benefit from seeing a good quality record, where the process of data elaboration and presentation is more transparent than on the synthesis produced for publishers. The process of publishing Open Data could contribute to the research group quality, as well as the overall quality of educational research, when other researchers and groups access our work. Another important issue is start promoting research replication, and research based over second hand data, an approach that is already promoted by the AERA.

Moreover, the publication of Open Data aligns perfectly with the several EU projects where Edul@b is engaged (H2020, Erasmus+ and others). 

Finally, the digital infrastructure we chose to upload our work is ZENODO, the CERN and the European Commission. Within it, we created our own Community Edul@b of Open Data.

Curation Policy

Edul@b group uploads open research contents (open data, instruments, methods, scripts), jointly with the final research output (reports, papers, projects). Our aim is to openly share our work to the broader community of educational technology research.

The criteria agreed by Edul@b research members to upload content are:

  • Follow the steps requested in the Edul@b template to generate FAIR Open Data (by Juliana E. Raffaghelli)
  • Publish the content in “restricted access” mode to enact peer-reviewing.
  • Peer-review by Edul@b colleagues.
  • Once peer-review by Edul@b’s group is granted, it is up to the researcher (main author) to decide the level of openness according to the reviewers’ suggestion and specific project policy.
  • When there is research shared with other research groups, there will be a process of consultation to achieve approval from the external co-authors.
  • PhDs will be invited to submit their OD after having discussed their PhD thesis, unless there are published research articles (in this case, the rule of thumb will be publishing OD with the article).


Borgman, C. L. (2015). Big Data, Little Data, No data: Scholarship in the Networked World. Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press.

DG CONNECT EUROPEAN COMMISSION. (2013). Digital Science in Horizon 2020. Brussels, Belgium. Retrieved from

Fecher, B., & Friesike, S. (2014). Open science: one term, five schools of thought. In Opening Science (pp. 17–47).

Li, J., & Greenhow, C. (2015). Scholars and social media: tweeting in the conference backchannel for professional learning. Educational Media International, 52(1), 1–14.

Manca, S., & Ranieri, M. (2017). Exploring Digital Scholarship. A Study on Use of Social Media for Scholarly Communication among Italian Academics. In A. Esposito (Ed.), Research 2.0 and the Impact of Digital Technologies on Scholarly Inquiry (pp. 117–142). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Molloy, J. C. (2011). The open knowledge foundation: Open data means better science. PLoS Biology, 9(12).

Nielsen, M. A. (2012). Reinventing discovery : the new era of networked science. Princeton University Press.

Raffaghelli, J. E., & Manca, S. (2019). Is there a social life in Open Data? Open datasets exploring practices in Educational Technology Research.

Veletsianos, G., & Kimmons, R. (2016). Scholars in an increasingly open and digital world: How do education professors and students use Twitter? The Internet and Higher Education, 30, 1–10.

Veletsianos, G., & Shepherdson, P. (2015, June 19). Who studies MOOCs? Interdisciplinarity in MOOC research and its changes over time. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning. Retrieved from

Weller, M. (2011). The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

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