Access to verified, freely available data is crucial for research purposes as it allows researchers to conduct their studies, analyze trends, and draw insights. The availability of open data ensures that researchers can access and use the data to contribute to scientific advancement and innovation. This, in turn, can lead to new discoveries and improvements in various fields, including ecology, economics, social sciences, and more.
The lack of access to data has long been a barrier for researchers. Official, verified data may have been hard to come by, especially for massive sectors such as agriculture, where years-long on-ground surveys are prohibitively expensive for researchers. With the Right to Information (RTI) Act in place, researchers can now request information from government agencies and use this information to conduct their research.
The RTI Act has thus been instrumental in ensuring access to information and data that was harder to access earlier. The RTI Act streamlines data access from public authorities and has led to increased transparency and accountability in government operations. The vast troves of data collected by the government or otherwise generated serves not only as a paper trail that can help the common man gain insights into government functioning; but also allows researchers working in domains such as economics or agriculture to gain insights into trends and patterns.
The RTI Act has thus been beneficial for researchers, as it allows them to access data and information that can be used in their research. This has led to an increase in the quantity and quality of research being conducted in India, as researchers can now access data that was previously unavailable to them.
The lack of freely available data despite the presence of the RTI act has frustrated many researchers. Further, the absence of an online platform for filing RTI requests in many states in India can hinder efficient access of data and information. This is frustrating and time-consuming, especially for researchers based outside the state. Therefore, it is crucial for states to establish an online platform to promote transparency and accountability in government operations and facilitate research. Additionally, centralization or a hierarchical system might also be useful in improving accessibility and efficiency.
The entire crux of the RTI act is nullified if access to the gateways of requesting data is made unavailable. The value and utility of RTI lies in the fact that it can open the doors to limitless possibilities from use of data, be it to reanalyze policy or to help frame new ones. Having easy access to data is thus a necessity for increasing productivity of the data available to us.