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The search for the right datasets could be daunting, especially when you need them for machine learning (ML) and data science projects. We reduce your research efforts by providing the ultimate list of free data sets.

Datasets are simply collections of data. It could be financial, community health, stock market data, banking data, geographical data, particle science research data, ratings of products on an eCommerce site, etc.

Datasets contain data collected through a scientific survey standard and are important for further visualization, extraction, forecasting, etc. Since data is the equivalent of crude oil in the digital universe, datasets are becoming commercial and scarce.

Continue reading to find out the basics about datasets. You will also discover some open source datasets that are truly free for your machine learning (ML) or data science projects.    

What Are Datasets?

Datasets are the collection of data in a structured and organized container. Usually, surveyors associate datasets with a unique body, for example, World Bank Open Data.

Again, the data collectors keep the datasets specific to a topic like the 2020 Census Data of the United States of America published by the United States Census Bureau.

You will find many datasets on global and local issues. Most datasets contain interrelated data points. For example, the population of a country and how obesity relates to different classes of this population.    

The data scientists may need to clean, restructure, and process such datasets using big data tools to arrive at valuable conclusions like reducing plastic waste by analyzing plastic usage data, remedying workforce issues by analyzing wage data, training artificial intelligence (AI), and so on. 

Types of Datasets

Depending on the source of the datasets, they could be public or private. Public datasets are open to all and contribute much towards research and development. 

Again, datasets can be of the following types depending on the information contained in them:

  • Multivariate: Such data contains multiple variables.
  • Categorical: It portrays many categories of people.
  • Numerical: Such datasets measure data in numbers like age, height, etc.
  • Correlation: In this type, data points are interrelated. 
  • File Based: Here, datasets are stored in files.
  • Bivariate: A dataset with two variables and a relationship among them. 
  • Web Dataset: Data collected from one or many similar internet portals.  
  • Database: Such datasets store data in tables, columns, and rows. 

Open Source Datasets for Data Science Projects

Free data sets are the fuel to power your passion for a data science career. Because if you are in the early stages of your data science career, you might want to take on personal and non-commercial projects for self-confidence or portfolio building. 

First, you can easily test your newly-learned skills by applying tools and techniques to real-world dataset problems.

For example, there are freely available cancer research data, Covid-19 data, FBI criminal records data, particle analysis data from CERN, etc. You can use such data and build a data science model to answer vital social, financial, and health issues.   

Secondly, such projects work as portfolio enhancers for your career. If you can build a successful data analytics model that can offer actionable insights, you can showcase those models online by creating portfolio websites. Employers prefer projects over statements of purpose.

Free Data Sets for Machine Learning Projects

Like a data science professional, an ML professional must also work on self-managed projects to examine their skills. If the project becomes successful, it also becomes an ideal component for your online or offline portfolio of ML projects.

Therefore, you can now understand that data science and ML growth depend on structured datasets. If such datasets were too commercialized, research and development in the data science field would become fully corporate-centric.

To keep the data science ML research open to all, the following agencies, institutions, and platforms offer free data sets:

You will find all the open data collected and processed by the US Govt. in The platform also offers resources and tools to conduct research, design data visualizations, develop mobile/web apps, etc.

Its notable datasets include sustainable land usage data, rural housing data, inland electronic navigation charts, etc.  

Open Datasets: Kaggle

Kaggle offers an ocean of public data and computer codes for data science projects. You can select Datasets for raw data and Code for programming codes. Trending datasets on Kaggle are AMEX data, Simpsons Viewership, Chatbot training data, etc.  

Segment Datasets: YouTube 8-M

Segment datasets from YouTube 8-M offer you segment annotations verified by human auditors. You can also access the YouTube-8M Dataset from the same portal. The dataset contains 6.1 million video IDs, 350,000 hours of video, 2.6 billion audio/visual features, 3863 classes of videos, and on average, 3.0 labels per video.

Registry of Open Data on AWS

ROD on AWS helps data scientists share and discover datasets hosted on AWS resources. Some interesting datasets you can find here are The Cancer Genome Atlas, Foldingathome COVID-19 Datasets, Common Crawl, etc.  

Machine Learning Repository: UCI

UCI Machine Learning Repository currently maintains 622 datasets fit for data scientists and ML engineers to train their AI models. Also, there is a searchable interface to research the databases. Popular attractions are the Accelerometer dataset, Synchronous Machine dataset, Wikipedia Math Essentials, Turkish Headlines dataset, etc.   

BigQuery Public Datasets: Google Cloud

Many public datasets are stored on BigQuery. Google makes the dataset accessible for free through the Google Cloud Public Dataset Program. However, the free query has a limit of 1 TB per month. You can perform standard SQL and legacy SQL queries.  

Awesome Public Datasets: GitHub

Awesome Public Datasets is an open-source dataset that contains topic-centric public data. Collected and sorted from various blogs, answers, and user feedback, it combines free and paid data sets on physics, sports, software, natural language, and machine learning.

World Bank Data

World Bank Data

World Bank Open Data is the platform where you get free access to global development data. It also offers other valuable resources such as pre-formatted tables and reports. You can easily browse by country or indicator to get the required data set. 

FiveThirtyEight: Data

FiveThirtyEight is an American website that deals in opinion poll analysis, politics, economics, and sports. You can access these polls and forecasts through data sets from its platform. You can download the data sets in one click.


ImageNet is an image database from which researchers worldwide can get open source datasets for their non-commercial projects. Here, the images are organized based on the WordNet hierarchy. The project plays a vital role in advanced-level deep learning research. 

Datasets Archives: UNICEF DATA

Using the Datasets Archives, you can get hold of datasets collected by UNICEF across the world. Data on migration, displacement, diet, connectivity, education, health, learning, mortality, violence, childhood development, child marriage, child labor, and various statistics are available here. 

Find Open Data: Govt. of UK

If your project needs data published by local bodies and the central government of the UK, Find Open Data is the portal you should check out. It covers government spending, business, health, education, defense, and more data sets.

Data: United States Census Bureau

Do you need US Census data for a relevant project? You can take assistance from USCB Data. Here, you can explore 2020 census data, tables, maps, and data profiles while visualizing data and using data tools.

Data and Statistics: CDC

The United States federal agency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides free data sets to the public to access data and statistics from this portal. The data set topics are Environmental Health, Chronic Diseases, Births & Natality, Deaths & Mortality, Life Expectancy, Injuries & Violence, Reproductive Health, National Notifiable Diseases, etc.

World Bank Data Catalog

World Bank Data Catalog

The Data Catalog collects free data sets that make the World Bank’s development-related data easily accessible. Using it in various projects is a breeze as you can effortlessly find and download your preferred information. It contains over 5000 data sets covering the World Bank’s microdata, finances, and energy platforms.

NASA Space Science Data

NASA offers access to its archival data on Space Science Data Coordinated Archive. This platform is a great help for the general public, especially people working in education and space research. It has 400 TB of digital data containing information about 550 space science. 

Get the Data: Inside Airbnb

Get the Data Inside Airbnb

Airbnb is a globally renowned online marketplace for homestays and holiday rentals. It also offers data collection on various cities worldwide from Get the Data. You can browse through the city to quickly get the data. Furthermore, you can request your required data and read data assumptions on this portal. 

Web Data: Amazon Reviews

Those interested in market research and product reviews should use the datasets provided by Snap Web Data. It contains more than 34 million user reviews on Amazon, from June 1995 to March 2013. The dataset contains plain text, product information, user name, ratings, and a review.

IMF Data

IMF data

The IMF Data portal is valuable for all economic and financial data types. Whether you are searching for IMF finance data, external sector statistics, flagship publications, or microeconomics data, this is where you can find them. Moreover, you can use a filter to get country-wise data.

Google Books Ngrams

If you are working on parts of speech and language, Google Books Ngrams can significantly help you. This open-source dataset gives you an idea about using a particular word and phrase throughout history or a specific time range. The source of this data set is the digital documents indexed by Google.

Markets Data: The Financial Times

Markets Data: The Financial Times

If you want to get your hands on reliable and accurate global and regional share market data, Markets Data by The Financial Times is here to help you. It enables you to work with market data from America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the global market.

Earthdata: NASA

NASA provides full and open access to its science data through the Earth Data program that helps you understand our home planet and do projects with it. You can find free data sets on atmospheric, biosphere, cryosphere, human dimensions, land surface, ocean, solid earth, sun-earth interaction, and terrestrial hydrosphere.

Dataset Search: Google

If you are a student, researcher, or data scientist looking for datasets to support your project, you can take assistance from the Dataset Search portal. You can call it a search engine for data sets as it lets you discover datasets hosted in various reports across the web through keyword search. 

Open Data: CERN

European research organization CERN has an Open Data portal that you can use to access the research-generated data at CERN. This data set portal contains two petabytes of data related to particle physics. Moreover, it comes with applications and documentation needed for data analysis.

Crime Data Explorer: FBI

Crime Data Explorer FBI

The Crime Data Explorer (CDE) is the open-source data set from the FBI that aims to provide easier access to criminal, noncriminal, and law enforcement data sharing. Besides allowing you to discover the necessary data through visualization and category filtering, this platform lets you download data in CSV format.

Final Words

So far, you have gone through a truly exhaustive list of high-quality datasets. The article presents data from various niches like physical science, medical records, space research, criminal records, product ratings, etc. 

Depending on the data science or machine learning project that you are up to, you can take your pick. Almost all the datasets also have proper instructions to help you with your project.

You may also be interested in these resources to learn data science and ML.

  • Bipasha Nath
    I am a technical and creative content writer with 10+ years of experience in the relevant industry. My degrees in English and Sociology, coupled with working experience in software development companies, help me understand how technology… read more
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