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Managing Research Data: Finding and Reusing Existing Datasets

Why create data at all?

Creating data sets from scratch can be hugely expensive, time consuming, may require ethical approval, a.....

Funders are  increasingly requiring researchers to make their datasets openly and publicly available to ensure the funds used to create the datasets are used (and reused) most efficiently. In addition, governments and government/public bodies routinely create extensive regional and national datasets, and these datasets are often released into the public domain. In computer science, "Open Source" software is a long established tradition, resulting in millions of lines of computer code becoming freely and openly available. Also, as a result of initiatives such as "Datacite" it has become increasingly attractive to researchers to make their datasets available to ensure they accrue citations, and demonstrate impact, in the same way that that citations to publications have traditionally been used.

All this means that there are vast tranches of research data openly available. One of the first questions you should ask yourself is if you need to create data at all.

Of course, if you reuse an openly available dataset, you should abide by the terms of the reuse licence, and cite the original data set and it's creator(s).

Below we have collated a number of dataset sources, but if you still can't find a suitable source among those listed, Google now provides a dataset search facility...

Data sets shared by Irish public bodies

Irish National Open Data Portal

Datasets made open for reuse by some 111 publishers, including: Central Statistics Office, city councils, government departments, Environmental Protection Agency, EuroStat, Fáilte Ireland, Geological Survey of Ireland, Health and Safety Authority, Heritage Council, Met Éireann, National Transport Authority, Office of Public Works, Ordnance Survey Ireland, Revenue Commissioners, Road Safety Authority, TUSLA, and more. New datasets and publishers are being added all the time.

Cork City datasets

Dublinked: open data for the Dublin region

Search for Dublin data under headings: Arts culture and heritage, Environment and energy, Planning and land use, Government and participation, Recreation and amenities, Population and communities, Public health and safety, Economy and innovation, Transport and infrastructure.

Galway County Open Data Portal

Limerick City datasets

Airo Datastore

by Maynooth University. Tidy data sets on demographics, economy, housing, and the environment

Open Data NI

Data sets shared by public bodies in Northern Ireland.

HSE data sets

Data sets published by Transport Infrastructure Ireland


OSI Open Data Portal


An OSI initiative providing access to spatial data from over 35 public sector organisations


Datasets relating to townlands, baronies, parishes and counties of Ireland


Data sets shared by European public bodies and international organisations


Whilst Accessible, Interoperable, and Resusable are not guaranteed, Google's Dataset Search works along the same lines as Google Scholar.

Other Data set sources

1000 Genomes

The largest public catalog of human variation and genotype data

Gene Expression Omnibus

A public functional genomics data repository supporting MIAME-compliant data submissions.

World Bank Open Data

Free and open access to global development data

The WHO Global Health Observatory


UNICEF’s Data & Analytics (D&A) team is the global go-to for data on children. It leads the collection, validation, analysis, use and communication of the most statistically sound, internationally comparable data on the situation of children and women around the world. D&A upholds the quality, integrity and organization of these data and makes them accessible as a global public good on the website.

The OpenAIRE project, in the vanguard of the open access and open data movements in Europe was commissioned by the EC to support their nascent Open Data policy by providing a catch-all repository for EC funded research