Data is considered to be ‘open’ if it is freely available for anyone to use, re-use or redistribute it for any purpose without restriction or charge. The UK Government is committed to placing data and information into the public domain to enable citizens to understand the basis for Government decisions, how public sector organisations spend the money allocated to them and ultimately to enable citizens to hold public sector organisations to account for their performance.
The Transforming Information Programme is running pilot projects to explore how data can be released more openly. We know that our customers want to be able to access data which is more timely, which is also in line with the UKSA Code of Practice which requires that data should be released as soon as it is judged ready.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee has suggested that open data can be categorised by using a 5-star schema. We regularly release data at 1 star, 2 star and 3 star levels but in order to make this officially ‘open data’ we need to release it under an open data licence to govern its use. Without this the data cannot be reused freely. We are exploring how we can open data more widely through a number of pilot projects and those findings along with the recommendations of the Open Data Strategy for Scotland, will inform our plans for 2015.
Open Data Workstream Lead