Open Data

What is open data & why is it important?

In a well-functioning democratic society, citizens need to be informed and have access to information on government policies and progress. Open data — data which is freely available and shareable online, without charge — dramatically reduces the time and money citizens need to invest to understand what their governments are doing and to hold them to account. At the same time, because open data is made available in bulk and in formats that simple computer programmes can analyse, comparing and combining data from different sources becomes faster and easier, even across national boundaries. This greatly enhances the ability of policymakers, scientists and entrepreneurs to find solutions to complex development problems.

According to the open definition, to be truly open, data should be:

  • Available online so as to accommodate the widest practical range of users and uses.
  • Open-licensed so that anyone has permission to use and reuse the data.
  • Machine-readable so that large datasets can be analysed efficiently.
  • Available in bulk so that it can be downloaded as one dataset and easily analysed by a machine.
  • Free of charge so that anyone can access it no matter their budget.