It would be strange to find someone who has not heard about open data at this point, as well as related concepts, such as Linked Open Data. Its influence reaches a broad spectrum of fields, from administrative and government to many areas of the private sector.
This expansion of open data, as with many other aspects, causes its definition to be distorted, publishing with the open data label that does not meet the requirements established for it. What are these requirements? We describe them below.
How did it all begin?
To know the origin of the requirements to open data we have to go back to December 2007 and move to Sevastopol, in California. That was when during a meeting of the Open Government Working Group the 8 fundamental pillars that support the concept of open data was born.
Why was it so important to define what open data is? In addition to the conceptual confusion we have explained above, we must emphasize the importance of these data for the evolution of democracy and society in general.
This information made available to the public through the rise of the Internet allows everyone to participate actively in governance and, in addition, allows third parties to reuse this data to develop all kinds of tools with which to obtain an economic benefit and / or providing an integration of them into non-existent services and, with a global vision, contributes to a more advanced society.
What are the 8 basic principles of open data?
Once we have placed ourselves regarding your need and your applications, let’s analyse in depth the premises that, if fulfilled, allow you to name some data with the open category.
With this condition that urges that all information produced or collected by governments be available to the entire population, it is intended that it may make the best decisions for the general good and / or reuse them in the interest of themselves or third parties.
In addition, we can say that each of us has full right to know and reuse the content of the data that governments contain, since we have paid for them through our taxes.
One of the main impediments we can face when applying this first principle is the fact that much of this government information has not yet been digitized. Therefore, this conversion to reusable electronic format is pressing for administrations that are lagging behind in this regard.
The data is collected at the source, with the highest level of granularity, there are no aggregations or modifications.
This principle requires that for open data to be such, they must adopt three inescapable qualities:
- High level of detail
- Virgins, that is, they must not have suffered any screening or previous treatment. They must be presented exactly as they emerged from the primitive source.
- Their origin and the references they contain can be checked, so that anyone can verify their validity.
We understand that this principle bases its reason on objectivity and transparency, and that thanks to this second condition it is facilitated that the reuser of this information can process the non-cooked data as it suits him best.
The data will be made available as soon as necessary to preserve the value of the data.
5.- Processable by machines
The data is reasonably structured to allow automated processing.
When publishing data we must always include formats whose coding allows automatic processing. These formats must be properly documented and clarified.
This means that the publication of data in unstructured formats, such as free texts, PDF files or those of a graphic nature, such as JPG or PNG, should be avoided, and if they are exposed, they should.
6.- Non discriminatory
7.- Non owners
The data is available in a format over which no entity has exclusive control.
It is necessary that the published data are in an open format, in order to facilitate its free access to all, as well as its reuse. If there is a situation that proprietary data is cataloged, they must have their counterpart in an open format.
Therefore, files with extensions such as CSV, XML, SVG, etc. will have priority.
8.- Free of license
Are these principles fulfilled?
- Polítics: 82%.
- Impact: 50%.
- Gateways: 63%.
- Quality: 62%.