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Open access can help on public health issues

02 Nov 2015

Dear Editor,
The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) launched a new online resource, The All Ireland Public Health Repository, at its annual seminar Open Access Resources for Public Health last week. The seminar, which was hosted in collaboration with RIAN, Pathways to Irish Research, explored ways in which an Open Access approach to health data and information can be used to support work in the areas of population health and well-being across the Island of Ireland.

The All Ireland Public Health Repository was developed by the IPH and is part of its The HealthWell website. It offers public health workers and those working in voluntary and community organisations free and easy to use tools to access online public health information.

By opening up access to a network of Open Access portals, including RIAN and the European portal OpenAire, it allows anyone with an internet connection who is interested in public health to get a wider range of up-to-date health data and contextual publications on public health issues, including obesity, chronic conditions and mental health and well-being.

This new resource is part of the Institute’s work in improving everyone’s access to sources of health information. It has been carefully developed with the needs of users in mind and provides free access and easy-to-use search tools to help anyone engaged in the area of public health to get up-to-date data and information from a huge range of sources.

By making this data and information easier to access we hope to help those engaged in health and community work, but also to stimulate public debate on how we can tackle health inequalities and build a healthier society.

The fully searchable online resource currently contains more than 2,000 tagged resources from a wide range of partner websites such as IPH, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (NI), Department of Health (ROI), Public Health Agency (NI), safefood and Public Health England.

The new resource was launched as part of Open Access Week (October 19-25 2015), which provides a great opportunity to learn more about the benefits of open access to information.

Prof Kevin Balanda,

Research Director,
Institute of Public Health in Ireland.


Click here to view the full article which appeared in Irish Medical Times: Opinion