Open Data

from Culture to Technology

Dr Tom Heath · @tommyh


  1. About Open Data
  2. The Open Data Institute
  3. Applications of Open Data
  4. Evaluating Open Data Publishing
  5. The ODI Network
  6. Open Data Monitor

About Open Data

  • open data
    must have have a licence to say it is open
    just being on the web is not enough
  • the license
    may impose some constraints:
    attribution and/or share-alike

A piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike.

Open | Big | Personal Data

Image Credit: Ulrich Atz

Why Open Data?

  • for the developer
    build cool things without having to pay for the data or collect it yourself
  • for government and business
    new business opportunities based on open data
    cost savings, greater efficiency
  • for society
    greater transparency

The Open Data Institute

The Open Data Institute

  • founded in 2012
    by Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt
  • non-profit, non-partisan company
    partly funded by, but independent from, government
  • based in east london, but with (inter)national outlook

ODI Culture

  • doing everything in the open
  • creating economic, social and
    environmental value
  • ...helping others be successful with open data

ODI Activities

  • training
  • tools and services
  • startups
  • policy
  • research

ODI Members

  • Quanta Computer
    needs no introduction!
  • Telefonica
    major mobile and fixed line telco
  • Virgin Media
    large UK cable telco
  • almost 50 others

Success Factors
in the UK

  • government
    strong funding commitment
    high level political support
  • leadership
    strong champions
  • community
    critical mass in the open data community
    (business and activists)

Applications of
Open Data

Prescribing Analytics

The Question

  • annual prescription drugs bill for UK national health service is ~£10 billion
  • potential cost savings from prescribing generic drugs
  • how big are the savings?

Prescribing Analytics

The Method

  • prescription data for england, published monthly
    anonymised, under an open license
  • work with domain specialists,
    select one drug class: statins
  • find all cases where generic could have been prescribed
    with no difference in patient outcomes
  • what is the cost difference?

Prescribing Analytics

The Results

  • potential costs savings to national health service of
    £200 million per year
  • for just one drug class

Fire Stations in London

  • proposal to close a number of fire stations
    in central london
  • candidates for closure identified by
    non-transparent analysis/process
  • questions
    is the analysis fair/accurate?
    how can citizens engage in the process?

Fire Stations in London


  • findings broadly compatible with initial analysis
  • significantly cheaper than official analysis?
  • tool is publicly available
    citizens can explore the options

Evaluating how
Open Data
is Published

Open Data Certificates

  • the first robust quality badge for
    open data publishing

Open Data Certificates

  • the first robust quality badge for
    open data publishing
  • helps...
    publishers certify their data
    users find and use it
    policy makers benchmark

The ODI Network

supporting an open data culture worldwide

ODI Nodes

supporting local, national and international impact

ODI Nodes

ODI Nodes connect the organisations that support
open data projects and people

Businesses + Universities + NGOs

ODI Nodes

Open Data Monitor

Open Data


  • 2-year EU-funded project, started this week
  • monitoring and analytics for
    open data deployment across europe
  • european focus, but may provide services elsewhere



Tom Heath · Open Data Institute · @tommyh


OpenDataMonitor project

funded by EC FP7 grant 611988


Tom Heath · Open Data Institute · @tommyh

Stuart Harrison Sam Pikesley James Smith Jeni Tennison

Open Data Institute Tech Team
@ukoditech #theodi


ODI Creative Commons