What to look for

More than ever before, there is a vast amount of data available for public use online. With the right tools and training, we can use these data to answer research questions within and across disciplines. For researchers interested in agriculture, food systems, nutrition, and health, there are a wide number of data repositories, government and organizational websites, and more that offer free access to datasets to help us investigate questions in our field.

In the SCANR Research Guidance sections below, you will find resources and guidance for every stage in the process of finding and utilizing secondary data for your research, from finding the right dataset to sharing your results.


SCANR tips about publicly-available data
  • What is FAIR data?
    • FAIR data is findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. FAIR principles are about having future users in mind when you create and share data.
    • GARDIAN metrics for FAIR data: This is a set of metrics for determining whether data is FAIR developed by the GARDIAN initiative.
    • “What scientists need to know about FAIR data”: This article from Nature Index discusses and explains FAIR data principles.
  • What is interoperability?
    • Interoperability is the ability to merge datasets for new applications without losing their meaning. Interoperable data can be re-used and re-analyzed for multiple applications. Though not all datasets can be combined, interoperability can us to use existing and new data for more research and other applications.
    • Data interoperability: A practitioner’s guide to joining up data in the development sector: A guide to data interoperability created by the UN Statistics Division, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, and the Collaborative on SDG Data Interoperability.
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