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What is Open Data?

The answer to this is more complicated than simply ‘data that everyone can access and use, as well as share since the open data initiative was started by Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the World Wide Web). The Open Data Institute’s Open Definition states: “Open data is data that is freely used, re-used and redistributed.” It also states “Universal participation is required.” It shouldn’t restrict any field of endeavor or individuals or organizations. It shouldn’t also impose restrictions on commercial usage or limit mixing of data sets from different sources.

An accessible format is an additional factor making data useful. Datasets need to be stored in a format that is easily readable, can be downloaded and processed by computer programs and updated automatically when new data are published. Additionally, they need to be able to be linked together in order to provide context and enable new analyses to be made.

A final key element of successful open data initiatives is that they should be focused on the most important issues facing your organisation or the government. This will ensure that the funds allocated to open-data initiatives are used on those initiatives that are most likely to result in positive results and bring about sustainable value. This could take the form of increasing job creation, improving sustainability by increasing transparency or community engagement.




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