Open data best practice

Benjamin Cave · @cave_ben

Law and Licensing
(please note, I am not a lawyer and this section should not be treated as legal advice)

Definition of Open (OKF)

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.

- Summary of Open Definition (v1.0)

Retired August 2014


What are Intellectual Property Rights?

IPR and Licensing

Law and IPR Venn Diagram

Rule of Thumb

  • Do you have rights or permission to publish?
  • Do you have rights to use the information/data?
  • Is the data derived from other sources?
  • What are the permissions concerning those sources?

Personal Data

  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Data relating to a living identifiable person must be processed fairly and lawfully
  • Processing that is not immediately apparent to users e.g. cookies (new laws and guidance) damages available to data subjects

Anonymisation is hard: &

Open Government Licence (OGL)

The Open Government Licence

Other Licences

Creative Commons 4

Open Database Licence


Licence compatibility tool

Public domain assumption and myth

Endagered rhinos

Is the picture clear?

Who should own crowd sourced data?
Ensuring Data Quality
Best Practice Guidelines


What makes data usable?


Open Data Certificate
5 Stars
5 Stars


5 Stars

5 Stars

Available on the web (whatever format) but with an open licence, to be Open Data
★ ★ Available as machine-readable structured data (e.g. excel instead of image scan of a table)
★ ★ ★ as (2) plus non-proprietary format (e.g. CSV instead of excel)
★ ★ ★ ★ use URIs to denote things, so that people can point at your stuff
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ All the above, plus: Link your data to other people’s data to provide context

Adding context

Adding context


  Raw Pilot Expert Small
Release Type


  Raw Pilot Expert Small
Right to publish
Data licensed
Content licensed
Clear privacy statement
Sources of data documented  
Audited Anonymisation    


  Raw Pilot Expert Small
Useable period described  
Availability period described  
Discoverable from home page    
Listed in a collection    
Referenced from publication/application    
Quality problems listed    
Quality control process described      


  Raw Pilot Expert Small
Data hosted online
Type of data defined
Machine readable metadata  
Clear technical documentation  
Persistant & common identifiers used    
5-Star Linked Data      
Machine readable provenance      
Data can be verified      


  Raw Pilot Expert Small
Support for improving/fixing  
Email support  
Discussion groups/forums    
Social media channels    
Supported community      
Tools and guides available to work with data      

Demand driven open data

Demand driven data, Gurin 2014

A Global Activity

Open Data Certificates - Contribute

One Objective

  • 3-Star data
  • Standard level Open Data Certificate

★ ★ ★

ODI Creative Commons