Data-driven engineering design research: Opportunities using open data

DS 87-7 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 7: Design Theory and Research Methodology, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Parraguez, Pedro; Maier, Anja
Series: ICED
Institution: Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
Section: Design Theory and Research Methodology
Page(s): 041-050
ISBN: 978-1-904670-95-7
ISSN: 2220-4342


Engineering Design research relies on quantitative and qualitative data to describe design-related phenomena and prescribe improvements for design practice. Given data availability, privacy requirements and other constraints, most empirical data used in Engineering Design research can be described as “closed”. Keeping such data closed is in many cases necessary and justifiable. However, this closedness also hinders replicability, and thus, may limit our possibilities to test the validity and reliability of research results in the field. This paper discusses implications and applications of using the already available and continuously growing body of open data sources to create opportunities for research in Engineering Design. Insights are illustrated by an examination of two examples: a study of open source software repositories and an analysis of open business registries in the cleantech industry. We conclude with a discussion about the limitations, challenges and risks of using open data in Engineering Design research and practice.

Keywords: Information management, Research methodologies and methods, Open source design, Data-driven design, Open data


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