Google helps scientists search for public data

Comb through research without having to wade through much of the web.

There's a sea of open research data available on the web, but it can be time-consuming to sift through those sites to get at the data -- and it's not always presented in an easy-to-parse format. Google hopes it can make that information more accessible to scientists, journalists and plain old data junkies with its new Dataset Search feature. The tool provides more direct access to data presented in an open standard that makes it clear who created the info, how it was collected and how you're allowed to use it. You could not only track down climate data for a report, but make sure that it's relevant and legal to use.

The requirements for open data and formatting limit just how much information you'll find. Google is launching Dataset Search with content from NASA, NOAA, Harvard's Dataverse and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, among other academic collections. It's far from a definitive resource at the moment. It's a start, however, and Google is no doubt hoping that this will encourage others to make their public data more searchable.

Google Dataset Search