|« The evolution of vehicle on-board units for urban transportation management systems||Interview with the expert. How Checker ATM Security was born »|
The Open Data Decalogue
The Open Data Decalogue
Open data advocates free availability of data worldwide without any restrictions of copyright, patents or other control mechanisms.
An allied concept is the re-use of public sector information (RPSI). The difference lies in the fact that open data is global in scope and rejects the notion of payment whereas re-use of public sector information limits its scope to this sector and allows for application of a public price or rate, according to Ley (Act) 37/2007).
Opening up public sector data means that any person or organisation is entitled to build a new idea from them, resulting in new data, knowledge, improvement of processes, addition of value to existing processes or even the creation of new services. It therefore has a considerable economic potential and also favors citizen collaboration, participation and transparency in the interests of more open government.
But this data cannot be published any old how. To qualify as “open data” the data needs to be published raw (without processing, manipulation or interpretation) and also has to be well structured and in known formats that facilitate reuse and automatic processing.
Below we itemise the so-called “Open Data Decalogue”, taken from the conclusions drawn from “Open Data Day in the Basque Country” held in Donostia-San Sebastián on Tuesday 8 May. This decalogue lays out the dos and don’ts for starting up any quality Open Data initiative:
- Publish the data in open standard formats. Formats that favour data reuse by the group of reusers and infomediaries.
- Use generally agreed schemes and vocabulary.As far as possible the data structure used should abide by a defined scheme or convention. If specific vocabulary or information representation schemes are created, these should be publicly exhibited.
- Listing in a structured data catalogue. It is also necessary to keep up a reference point including an inventory with descriptive and technical information on the set of data exhibited, as well as the metadata and taxonomies used to classify the different data sets exhibited.
- Data accessible from persistent and user-friendly web addresses: File-access and data download should be done from long-lasting URLs (web addresses), thus avoiding any loss of references in the future. They should also follow a homogenous and well-defined structure, with legible information so that reusers can recognize or “intuit” the content referred to by these web addresses.
- Exhibit a minimum set of data on the organization’s competency level and its data exhibition strategy. Any government authority or organization that drives an Open Data initiative should specify its data set exhibition strategy and priorities and also publish the sets of greatest interest according to the competencies of the organization itself.
- Data-quality, updating and service commitment, keeping an efficient communication channel between reuser and government authority. A minimum service quality should be maintained in any Open Data initiative and an efficient communication channel should also be established to ensure two-way interaction between the public body and infomediaries.
- Monitor and assess the use and service by means of metrics. This enables us to gauge whether the commitment with the reuser community is being met and to pinpoint any shortfalls in the system or strategy.
- Data under common and non-restrictive use conditions. The use conditions should be as unrestrictive as possible, ensuring free reuse, even for commercial purposes. Standard self-documented licences should ideally be created and used, common to all the various government levels.
- Educate and raise awareness about data use. Awareness should be raised about the importance of data use, not only among specific reuser groups (ICT sector, journalism, research, etc.) but also the public at large. This will encourage them to build up knowledge in their own right, ensuring that new generations are capable of reaching their own conclusions without middlemen who “think” for them.
- Compile applications, tools and handbooks to encourage reuse. Promote mechanisms to drive the Open Data movement and bring these mechanisms to wider notice.
Last March the Regional Council of Castilla y León (Junta de Castilla y León), in collaboration with GMV, launched its own open data portal (http://www.datosabiertos.jcyl.es/) under the consultancy of the Fundación CTIC, headquarters of W3C in Spain and main national promoter and benchmark of the Open Data movement.
In this portal we have published over 80 data sets, in light of citizen priorities, for companies or even for the government itself but we are open to suggestions and inputs from anyone to keep updating the catalogue. Which missing data would you like to see brought into the portal?
Author: Toño Velasco