Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

For data too, access and quality are independent

Tracey Lauriault, Cost Recovery Policies are NOT Synonymous with Data Quality, DataLibre, July 17, 2007. Excerpt:

One of the great data myths is that cost recovery policies are synonymous with higher data quality. Often the myth making stems from effective communications from nations with heavy cost recovery policies such as the UK who often argue that their data are of better quality than those of the US which have open access policies….

I just read an interesting study [Bastiaan van Loenen and Jitske de Jong, Institutions Matter: The impact of institutional choices relative to access policy and data quality on the development of geographic information infrastructures, GSDI-9 Conference Proceedings, November 6-10, 2006] that examined open access versus cost recovery for two framework datasets….

The study’s hypothesis was:

that technically excellent datasets have restrictive-access policies and technically poor datasets have open access policies….

Specific Results:

The case studies yielded conflicting findings. We identified several technically advanced datasets with less advanced non-technical characteristics…We also identified technically insufficient datasets with restrictive-access policies…Thus cost recovery does not necessarily signify excellent quality.

Although the links between access policy and use and between quality and use are apparent, we did not find convincing evidence for a direct relation between the access policy and the quality of a dataset….