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Open data in higher education: an introductory guide

Report coverThis introductory guide is intended for professionals working in universities who wish to gain a better understanding of the issues associated with using open data within their institutions.

It offers advice on how to be strategic in your use of open data, guidance on making the case for open data within your institution, and provides a set of activities for building data skills. The guide is based on training workshops run by the Open Data Institute (ODI) for the ‘Creating value from open data’ project.

The project was led by Universities UK in partnership with the ODI and Jisc. It set out explore the value of open data in UK higher education and promote a better understanding of how universities can benefit from it. 

We ran a series of workshops with professional groups and universities to examine the opportunities and challenges associated with open data in higher education. We learned that open data could potentially be applied to better utilisation of space, student engagement via learner analytics and sharing research equipment. However, a clear focus emerged on the role open data could play in providing services to students. 

With this in mind, we ran an Open Data Mashup Day on 17 November 2015 bringing together university managers, student developers and data experts to explore how open data can enhance the student journey. The day culminated in an award by Jisc of support for the development of the winning ‘BookMart’ app pitched by John Lacey, a graduate trainee at Lancaster University. ​​​​

Max Hastings

Max Hastings

Policy Researcher
Universities UK

Mary Lambe

Mary Lambe

Senior Policy Lead - Pensions
Universities UK

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