8 principios datos abiertos

The 8 Open Government Data Principles

The concept of open data is so popular and is used in so many environments that it often leads to confusion, cataloguing those who should not be involved. That is why it is more than necessary to remember a series of 8 guidelines that characterize this type of information and the ones we talk about in this article.

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.

But that’s not all, guided by these 8 principles for open data, administrations around the world and at all levels (municipal, provincial, regional or state) are more effective and more transparent.

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.

1.- Complete

All public data is made available. Public data is data that is not subject to valid privacy, security or privilege limitations.

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.

This availability will lead to an evolution in multiple social facets, such as the Smart Cities.

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.

2.- Primary

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.

3.- Opportunities

The data will be made available as soon as necessary to preserve the value of the data.

Some information only has value for a certain time, for this reason it must be published as soon as possible and kept updated periodically. Of course, if these data are provided in real time, we will face an optimal situation.
For this reason, in OGoov the Real Time Open Data (RTOD) module has been developed, a middleware that allows real-time access to content provided by different sources in an automated way, incorporating them in various formats to the organization’s open data catalog .
The amount of open data in real time is not as abundant as it should be, this being an improvement to take into account, as indicated in the Report on Maturity of Open Data in the European Union.
Principios de los datos abiertos

4.- Accessible

Data is available for the widest range of users with the widest range of purposes.
It is essential that open data can be consulted by all citizens, this implies people with some type of disability.
But that is not all, the information regarding Open Data must be interoperable, or what is the same, must be accessible independently of the software and hardware with which it is accessed. To achieve this goal, it must be published with the current standards and protocols set by the industry, as well as in alternative formats when required for reuse.
The data is not accessible if it can only be obtained through a web form or if the automated tools cannot access it due to a robots.txt file, or any other policy or technological restriction.

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

The data is available to anyone, without registration.
For a data set to be open, it must be accessible without the need to provide any identifying information, such as a username and password, among other authentication methods. This is because, through these practices, the distribution of public content is being hindered.
All access facilities must be offered without registration or authentication, both through web interfaces and public APIs for this purpose.

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

 The data is not subject to any copyright, patents, trademarks or regulation. Reasonable privacy and security restrictions are allowed.
To allow the redistribution, reuse and commercialization of this data, they must have an open license such as CC0CC-BYPDDLODC-BY, etc.
This condition excludes impediments arising from copyright or patent rights. On the other hand, this does not imply that the policies related to the privacy of personal information should not be taken into account.
Through open data portals, such as those deployed using the OGoov platform, Public Administrations can make available to the public data that have an open license that facilitates their redistribution, reuse and commercialization.

Are these principles fulfilled?

Once we have made it clear what conditions open data must meet to be considered as such, it is appropriate to analyze the extent to which countries comply with them. For this purpose, the report that analyzes the level of maturity of the open data initiatives of the European Union, which we mentioned above, will be very useful.
In this report 4 aspects are evaluated within the open data, policies, impact, portals and quality. On average, the results obtained were:
  • Polítics: 82%.
  • Impact: 50%.
  • Gateways: 63%.
  • Quality: 62%.
In what concerns Spain, this is at the forefront in terms of maturity of its open data, its results being: policies (93%), impact (97%), portals (78%) and quality (78%).
From this report we can extract that, although we are immersed in a positive trend, the margin for improvement is wide. For example, there are data sets that contain errors in their distributions, that are incomplete or poorly detailed. This makes it impossible for citizens and reusers to make practical use of them.
From OGoov we offer solutions to facilitate that the different data sets available to public bodies and that should be available to everyone in portals and catalogs such as those deployed by our platform, meet these requirements (and Spanish and European legislation ) and that all this can be implemented with a high level of automation and minimal impact on the organization that publishes them.
In this way we will take a very important step in a better use of information of incalculable value for the progress of society.

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