What is Open Data?

The answer to this question is somewhat more complicated than simply ‘data that everyone can access and share’ as the open data initiative was created by Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the World Wide Web). The Open Data Institute’s Open Definition states: “Open data is information that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed.” It also states “Universal participation should be allowed.” It should not restrict what is open data any particular field of endeavour, people or organisations. It also shouldn’t impose restrictions on commercial usage or restrict mixing of different data sets.

Accessibility to the format is another important aspect in making data useful. Datasets must be stored in a format that is easily accessible, readable, able to be downloaded and processed by computer programs and updated automatically whenever new data are released. Additionally, they must be able to connect to each one to provide context and enable new analyses.

The final aspect of open data initiatives that are successful is that they must be focused on the most pressing problems facing your company or the government. This will ensure that the resources invested in open-data initiatives are directed to the initiatives most likely to produce positive outcomes and provide lasting value. This could take the form of increasing job creation, improving sustainability or transparency or encouraging community involvement.