What is Open Data?

Tim Berners Lee (the inventor of the World Wide Web) founded the open data initiative, which is why the answer is more nuanced. According to the Open Definition from the Open Data Institute: “Open data refers to information that may be reused, used and distributed without restriction and is accessible for free.” It also states: “Universal participation must be enabled. This means that it should not exclude specific fields of endeavour as well as individuals or organizations and should not impose limitations on commercial use or restrict the intermixing of various data sets.”

A format that is accessible is an additional factor making datasets useful. Datasets have to be saved in a format that is easily readable that can be downloaded, processed and then interpreted by computer programs and be automatically updated whenever new data is published. Additionally, they need to be able to be linked together to provide context and enable new analyses to be conducted.

Another important aspect of open data initiatives that are successful is that they must be focused on the most pressing issues facing your organization or the government. This will ensure that the resources invested in open-data initiatives are used on those initiatives that are most likely to result in positive results and create sustainable value. This could take the form of increasing the creation of jobs, enhancing the sustainability of your organization, or supporting community engagement.

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