Welcome to Mozilla Science Lab's Open Data Primers!


Responsible Use of Other People's Data

As with any other field, reusing data can have ethical implications. In general, a principle of ‘do no harm’ should be adopted:

  • Don’t publish intermediate data products that re-identify research subjects from de-identified data.
  • Think about how your work will be used, or could be used, whether for good or not-so-good.
  • Support socially positive outcomes.
  • Cite the data you use appropriately.

A little more on that last one. As with other research products, citations are how we know our work is being used and, for better or for worse, tracking citations to research projects is important for job security for many researchers. Many public data sets have an associated permanent identifer. Use this in a citation to improve the data creator’s ability to track its use. Check out this guide for more information on why and how to cite data.