[Wg-economics-advisory] Meeting notes from Advisory Panel conference calls

Velichka Dimitrova velichka.dimitrova at okfn.org
Mon Jun 10 11:12:35 UTC 2013

Dear all,

We held two conference calls with the Advisory Panel last week and had a
lot of great comments and contributions and a strong support for
Principles. Please find some summary notes from the calls last week below
and also in this Google
which allows for additional comments and feedback. Let us know if you have
any additional thoughts.
Developing the culture and practice of data sharing


   In some communities there is already awareness about the issues of data
   availability and reproducibility: there is a need to present solutions and
   tools. In others there is still need to raise awareness about potential
   benefits of open data in economics.

   Collaboration between different actors involved is essential: e.g.
   librarians and research data curators are stepping in and contributing to
   the development of bridges between communities.

   There is a “quasi-effective” way of making researchers publish their
   data at the point of publishing in a journal. Learnt societies like AEA are
   at the forefront of putting in place data availability policies. Funder
   policies sometimes follow suit after journals establish access to data

Costs and benefits


   There is a need to be more explicit about the costs and benefits, where
   preparing data in a useful format requires a lot of time and resources and
   trade-offs exist. We should have proper use cases of where sharing data has
   been beneficial for others.

   While the hosting and distribution may have lower costs e.g.
   distribution of existing data over the Internet is not very expensive,
   there are much larger costs associated with data acquisition and data
   curation. Additionally, making data usable by others is also costly.


   The is a need to emphasise credit and recognition and an immediate award
   for the publishing of data. A data journal could play an essential role in
   providing incentives.

   There was a discussion around whether some data should be charged for to
   cover expenses associated with the data production. One approach is to let
   the funding agencies cover such costs and include requirements as part of
   the data sharing plans. (Principle 5. has been extended to include a more
   specific recommendation for funders.)


   There are different types and categories of data - getting the data
   which is just sitting on people’s hard-drives, for which there are no
   issues involved should be the priority at the first instance.

   There are issues involved relating to the lack of a central repository
   and no uniform formats for making data available which could aid in

Open Economics principles and steps forward


   There are many kinds of data in economics and a lot of barriers and
   reasons for why much of it cannot be made public. The Open Economics
   principles refer to the data generated with public funds which can be made
   available and whether a strong case exist that this should be done.

   There was a concern that the draft Principles may not reinstate
   sufficiently the risk of de-anonymising personal data and the risks
   involved - this acknowledgement should be emphasised (Principle 2. has been


   The Principles are short and describe some essential guidelines and are
   not messing around with exceptions, there will be some grey zones which
   could be covered by appendices and additional material. The recommendation
   for preferred licenses is mentioned in a footnote. Additional work may
   involve making specific recommendations to agencies (repositories, funders)
   who have power to implement change.

   These principles could apply to any discipline - there is a need to
   distinguish what is different in economics

   Fellowships for early career academics would be good as fellows would
   have more time and less of a vision and they can achieve a lot with support
   and guidance. They can have some guidelines but also room to experiment

   There could be also benefits in making grants for specific researchers
   to make their data available or possibly for the generation of new and
   interesting data.

   A community of senior academics should lead the effort. There is also a
   role for early stage professionals, who may have more time but lack ideas
   and direction - they should be also given some discretion in developing
   their projects.

   Open data may be also linked with the research agendas of academics and
   possibly more funding should be directed in that area and such efforts
   should be also supported to insure that researchers would get recognition
   in their communities.


Velichka Dimitrova

Open Economics Project Coordinator |

The Open Knowledge Foundation

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