Jean Burke uses open access to share data from her research on the portrayal of people with albinism in East African media. She has published the data on the national data repository, Research Data Australia, making it available to anyone with access to the internet. Jean, a Social Work lecturer, collaborated with Maureen O'Brien (Senior Librarian, Library Academic and Research Services) and two placement students to compile the dataset of media reports. Stephanie McGlinchey, Library Manager, Research Services assisted with the publishing process.
In 2008 Jean learnt that people with albinism were being violently or fatally attacked and began collecting online media reports about issues facing them in Tanzania. She stated "I am really glad to share this data with students and other researchers by Open Access. My hope is that it will be used for collaborative projects and will contribute to positive change for this marginalised group. There is so much time and effort put into collecting, organising and storing data. Sharing data by open access maximises its value."
Publishing the dataset online gives credit to this ACU researcher as a research output in its own right and hence increases the impact of the research. Both the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council encourage the open dissemination of all research outputs. Jean believes publishing her dataset as Open Access and on Research Bank has already enhanced her profile, extended her networks, and opened up opportunities. Since the Open Access publishing of the data set of excel spreadsheets with de-identified details of media reports, the data has been downloaded 132 times worldwide, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa (46) and Australia (42).
She is now preparing another data set to publish as Open Access AND to share for the purpose of teaching data analysis to her students. It is about the portrayal of social work in Australian media.