You can find many openly accessible (free) data sets simply by searching online for them (e.g. “open datasets in health”). Here are a few links to get you started.

Google Public Data Explorer
Google provides an accessible interface to data from 104 mostly governmental data providers. These include World Bank, UN and national government datasets (e.g. the U.S. Census Bureau). You can download the data or navigate and/or plot them directly online using Google Data Explorer tools.


US National Partnership to End Health Disparities
Compendium of Publicly Available Datasets and Other Data-Related Resources: “a free resource of publicly available data relevant to research and programs aiming to reduce health disparities. The Compendium compiles in one place descriptions of and links to 132 public datasets and resources that include information about health conditions and other factors that impact the health of minority populations.”

World Health Organisation Global Health Observatory (GHO) data
Global dataset on access to health services in each country along with indicators for equity of access.


Universities Worldwide
If you’re interested in doing any surveys of Astronomy education availability, this dataset offers a starting point for constructing a survey population frame from which you can sample. The data comprise a list based on the “World List of Universities 1997” published by the International Association of Universities (the other IAU) and links discovered or posted here. Database is maintained by Klaus Förster, reproduction and distribution are permissible for non-profit purposes only


integrated Civil Society Organizations (iCSO) System: UN Database of Non-Profits
A database developed by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) that lists registered non-profit and other known civil society organisations across the world (over 24,000). Data can be searched with combinations including by organisation name and type, region and country, consultative status, language, geographic scope, fields of activity and meeting participation. An excellent resource not only for analysis of the ‘development’ and ‘aid’ space, but also for finding potential collaborators!

Compiled open access data on the health and wealth of nations across the world. Data include a long long list of health, social, educational and economic indicators from different countries.

The site provides access to these data, along with downloads for teachers that include videos of data visualisations, information packs and teaching guides (e.g. the “Teacher’s Global Development Guide: Stimulates understanding of the world through statistics.”). Finally, in the downloads section, the site provides a collection of useful slides and presentations from statisticians and other development experts covering a wide range of topics.

Equality of Opportunity Project: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940
Datasets from the United States containing key indicators and statistics as well as replication code for each of the papers released from the project, including statistics on intergenerational mobility for local areas and over time.

Panama Papers: ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database
Probably amongst the most important datasets to become available in the past few years: Analyses of these data can assist the media in finding out “who’s behind almost 500,000 offshore companies, foundations and trusts from the Panama Papers, the Offshore Leaks and the Bahamas Leaks investigations”

Open Corporates
Aims to have open-access URL and accompanying data for every company in the world, now containing over 115 jurisdictions and 110 million companies, and are working with the open data community to add more each week. If you’re in countries not yet covered, you can help by finding out where and how company information is available (e.g. official company registry website), and whether there’s a single or multiple jurisdiction (some countries allow regions or states to register companies). To have free access, you need to write in and state that you will openly publish the results of your analyses.

UC Davis Center for International Data
The purpose of this center is to collect, enhance, create, and disseminate international economic data, including online and offline distribution.

American Economic Association
Links to some of the most useful and popular economics data sources, categorized by data type.

UN Comtrade
Global dataset of commodity imports and exports. Note these data are “provided for your internal use only. They may not be re-disseminated in any form without written permission of the United Nations Statistics Division”

European Commission Joint Research Centre: Danube Reference Data & Services Infrastructure (DRDSI)
Offers over 10,000 datasets from EU data collection efforts. Data include demographics, maps/GIS, ocean/shoreline and other government data from EU member states.

Open Knowledge Labs
Open community project making tools and insights using open data, open content and open code. OKL maintain a list of ongoing projects using open datasets. You can use the datasets to do your own analyses and share your results (and code) back with the project! You can find a list of their projects, which include data as well as information on project aims, and a list of their actual datasets or data collections (without project details).


In addition to the datasets included in the collections above (particularly OKLabs), the following offer specific datasets related to climate change.

WorldClim is a set of global climate layers (gridded climate data) with a spatial resolution of about 1 km2. These data can be used for mapping and spatial modelling. The current version is Version 1.4 (1 Feb 2017). For this version you can get data for past, current and future climates.

SPADE 1 and SPADE 2 (European Soil Data Centre)
This project’s objective  was to provide sufficient soil property data to support higher tier modelling of pesticide fate at the European level. This exercise resulted in a database and accompanying result. Data documentation is here.

AEF Database
Data on machinery compatibility, provided by the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation. Requires registration to use data, but registration is free.