The aim of open data is to maximize the potential of your data and to help it find new users and new uses.
Your data may hold the answers to unexpected questions and enable other researchers to further knowledge in surprising ways (for more about this, see our first primer, "Why Open Data"). In this second primer we’ll explore how you can make your data findable, accessible, comprehensible, and easily usable by others, before you share it widely.
As you read through this primer, keep two things in mind: 1) your own dataset, which you probably have spent time carefully and lovingly collecting, curating, and analyzing, and 2) an imaginary stranger, somewhere out there on the internet, who knows absolutely nothing about your dataset, but might have an exciting, novel use for it. The process of opening your data is the process of bringing #1 and #2 together-- introducing your dataset to a complete stranger. Let’s get started!