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Definition Edit

Open data is

[d]ata that meets the following criteria:
publicly available data structured in a way that enables the data to be fully discoverable and usable by end users.[2]
information or content made freely available to use and redistribute, subject only to the requirement to attribute it to the source. The term also may be used more casually to describe any data that is shared outside the organization and beyond its original intended use, for example, with business partners, customers or industry associations. Formally, data designated as "open" is subject to several conditions and licensing that can be found at here.[3]

Open data is "data available to others."[4]

Overview Edit

Open data is the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. The goals of the open data movement are similar to those of other "Open" movements such as open source, open hardware, open content, and open access. The philosophy behind open data has been long established (for example in the Mertonian tradition of science), but the term "open data" itself is recent, gaining popularity with the rise of the Internet and World Wide Web and, especially, with the launch of open-data government initiatives such as Data.gov and Data.gov.uk.

In general, open data will be consistent with the following principles:
  • Public. Consistent with OMB's Open Government Directive, agencies must adopt a presumption in favor of openness to the extent pennitted by law and subject to privacy, confidentiality, security, or other valid restrictions.
  • Accessible. Open data are made available in convenient, modifiable, and open formats that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and searched. Formats should be machine-readable (i.e., data are reasonably structured to allow automated processing). Open data structures do not discriminate against any person or group of persons and should be made available to the widest range of users for the widest range of purposes, often by providing the data in multiple formats for consumption. To the extent permitted by law, these formats should be non-proprietary, publicly available, and no restrictions should be placed upon their use.
  • Described. Open data are described fully so that consumers of the data have sufficient information to understand their strengths, weaknesses, analytical limitations, security requirements, as well as how to process them. This involves the use of robust, granular metadata (i.e., fields or elements that describe data), thorough documentation of data elements, data dictionaries, and, if applicable, additional descriptions of the purpose of the collection, the population of interest, the characteristics of the sample, and the method of data collection.
  • Reusable. Open data are made available under an open license that places no restrictions on their use.
  • Complete. Open data are published in primary forms (i.e., as collected at the source), with the finest possible level of granularity that is practicable and permitted by law and other requirements. Derived or aggregate open data should also be published but must reference the primary data.
  • Timely. Open data are made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data. Frequency of release should account for key audiences and downstream needs.
  • Managed Post-Release. A point of contact must be designated to assist with data use and to respond to complaints about adherence to these open data requirements.[5]

References Edit

  1. Anonymisation: Managing Data Protection Risk Code of Practice, App. 1, Glossary, at 48-49.
  2. OMB Memorandum M-13-13, at 5.
  3. Gartner, IT Glossary (full-text).
  4. NIST Big Data Interoperability Framework, Vol. 1, at 12.
  5. Id.


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