Open data is data that can be freely used, re-used and re-distributed by anyone - at most restricted by the obligation to name sources and “share-alike”. This does not apply to personal data.
The most important characteristics of open data are:
- Availability and access: Data should be available as a whole, at a cost no higher than the cost of reproduction, preferably as a free download on the Internet. The work should also be available in an appropriate and modifiable form.
- Use and re-use: The data must be made available under conditions that allow use, re-use and association with other data sets. The data must be machine-readable.
- Universal participation: Everyone must be able to use, re-use and re-distribute the data. There must be no discrimination against any persons or groups. The subsequent use may not be limited to individual areas (e.g. only for educational purposes), nor may certain types of use (e.g. for commercial purposes) be excluded.
A detailed definition of open knowledge: Open Definition.
What types of open data are there?
There are a large number of social areas in which individuals and organisations collect data, for example:
- Geodata are data that are used to produce maps - from the location of roads and buildings to topography and boundaries.
- Cultural data include information about cultural works and artifacts (titles and authors) as well as data generally collected and provided by galleries, libraries, archives and museums.
- Weather data are various forms of information that are used to understand and predict our weather and climate.
- Transport data include traffic data such as timetables, routes and real-time statistics.
- Council information systems contain all data concerning local political committee work in the local council, district assembly, committees or district representations. These can be published via suitable platforms, e.g. PolitikbeiUns.
- Financial data span from government budget data (expenditure, income) to information on financial markets (shares, bonds).
- Scientific data are created within a scientific research area, from astronomy to zoology.
Why open up data at all?
In a well-functioning, democratic society citizens need to know what their government is doing. To ensure this, transparency and democratic control, as well as free access to government data and information in addition to the ability to share this information with other citizens are needed. In the digital age, data is the key resource for social and economic activities. By opening up data, governments can help drive the creation of innovative businesses and services that can create social and economic value. The opening of data improves policy participation opportunities and facilitates informed involvement of citizens in policy making.
Open administrative data
There are already many good resources on Open Data: Open Data coordinators from federal states, foundations and research institutions have already distilled knowledge on a number of topics that can be applied at many levels. In addition, volunteers from the Code for Germany community have a wealth of experience in dealing with public data and the responsible authorities, which should be used much more. With the Open Data Knowledge Hub, we have created a hub where people from the administration and beyond can obtain information on Open Data and get tips on how Open Data can be implemented in practice. For us and interested members of the community, it also serves as means of documentation: What Open Data laws are currently in force in Hesse or Saarland? Hasn’t there already been a good handout on the topic of data inventory? The Hub is intended to provide initial orientation for such questions.
- Open Data Knowledge Hub
- Open Data erfolgreich umsetzen: 10 Praxistipps der Berliner Open Data Informationsstelle (ODIS)
- Öffentliche Daten nicht verhökern, sondern sinnvoll nutzen (Blog)
- Daten für alle: Das Bürgerrecht auf Transparenz (Le Monde Diplomatique)
- Open Data. The Benefits. Das Volkswirtschaftliche Potential für Deutschland
- Impact of Open Data from Case Studies: Open Data is Changing the World in Four Ways (GovLab)