What is Open Data?

Open Data is defined as structured data that is machine-readable, freely shared, used and built on without restrictions.
 
The Open Definition provides a more detailed definition of Open Data. To summarize the most important points:
 
  • Availability and Access: The data must be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably by downloading over the internet. The data must also be available in a convenient and modifiable form.
  • Re-use and Redistribution: The data must be provided under terms that permit reuse and redistribution including the intermixing with other datasets.
  • Universal Participation: Everyone must be able to use, reuse and redistribute. There should be no discrimination against fields of endeavour or against persons or groups. For example, 'non-commercial' restrictions that would prevent 'commercial' use, or restrictions of use for certain purposes (e.g. only in education), are not allowed.

PEI’s Open Data Principles

The Government of PEI has adopted the Government of Canada’s Open Data principles based on the Sunlight Foundation's "Ten Principles for Opening up Government Information."

1. Completeness

Datasets should be as complete as possible, reflecting the entirety of what is recorded about a particular subject. All raw information from a dataset should be released to the public, unless there are Access to Information or Privacy issues. Metadata that defines and explains the raw data should be included, along with explanations for how the data was calculated.

2. Primacy

Datasets should come from a primary source. This includes the original information collected by the Government of PEI and available details on how the data was collected. Public dissemination will allow users to verify that information was collected properly and recorded accurately.

3. Timeliness

Datasets released by the Government of PEI should be made available to the public in a timely fashion. Priority should be given to data whose utility is time sensitive.

4. Ease of Physical and Electronic Access

Datasets released by the Government of PEI should be as accessible as possible, with accessibility defined as the ease with which information can be obtained. Barriers to electronic access include making data accessible only via submitted forms or systems that require browser-oriented technologies (e.g., Flash, Javascript, cookies or Java applets). 

5. Machine Readability

Machines can handle certain kinds of inputs much better than others. Datasets released by the Government of PEI should be stored in widely-used file formats that easily lend themselves to machine processing (e.g. CSV, XML). These files should be accompanied by documentation related to the format and how to use it in relation to the data.

6. Non-Discrimination

Non-discrimination refers to who can access data and how they must do so. Barriers to use of data can include registration or membership requirements. Datasets released by the Government of PEI should have as few barriers to use as possible. Non-discriminatory access to data should enable any person to access the data at any time without having to identify themself or provide any justification for doing so.

7. Use of Commonly Owned Standards

Commonly owned standards refer to who owns the format in which data is stored. For example, if only one company manufactures the program that can read a file where data is stored, access to that information is dependent upon use of that company's program. Sometimes that program is unavailable to the public at any cost, or is available, but for a fee. Removing this cost makes the data available to a wider pool of potential users. Datasets released by the Government of PEI should be in freely available file formats as often as possible.

8. Licensing

The Government of PEI releases datasets under the Open Government Licence – PEI  Agreement. The licence is designed to increase openness and minimize restrictions on the use of the data.

9. Permanence

The capability of finding information over time is referred to as permanence. For best use by the public, information made available online should remain online, with appropriate version-tracking and archiving over time.

10. Usage Costs

The Government of PEI releases the data through the Open Government site free of charge.
 
Published date: 
June 9, 2016
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