The Open Access Data Project began in September 2018 and is an independent analysis of open access environmental and fisheries data on the tidal Thames. Open access data refers to data that is publicly available. The focus on open access data arose from conversations with stakeholders around the Thames who mentioned difficulties in locating which data are available on the Thames and who owns it.
The project focuses on two aspects of the tidal Thames - the physical environment and fish populations. Data on the physical environment focused on four parameters - temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. Variations in these four parameters characterise the gradients commonly found in estuaries and influence the biology of the estuary. The data on fish populations were used to analyse trends over time. The fish and environmental data were then linked to uncover how changes in the environment impact the fish populations in the Thames.
The project's outcomes were published as a research paper in February 2020. The paper is free to access in MDPI Open Access Journals, under the title, "Disparate Environmental Monitoring as a Barrier to the Availability and Accessibility of Open Access Data on the Tidal Thames".
The paper recommends the establishment of a centralised database for all Thames-related research, which would aid efforts to conserve and enhance the river.