“To achieve the goals of sustainable development, critical data must be open and available for reuse by anyone, anywhere, anytime"
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, co-founder of the Open Data Institute
Open data is data that is published in a way that allows anyone to freely and easily access and use it. This may be in the form of an open spreadsheet saved in a non-proprietary format (such as an .ods or.csv file) published on a website or an open data feed that allows users to link directly to the data. Whichever format you choose, the data must be clearly labelled as open data.
What are the benefits?
Opening up your data does offer some real benefits, not just to potential users of data, but also to you as a business. For instance, it enables quicker and easier access to data both within your organisation and across the public sector. It will also allow others to use the data to inform research and analysis or to create tools that help improve society.
Equally, at a time when data and research capacity within local authorities is increasingly limited, allowing people to access your data themselves means you will spend less time providing your data to the various different organisations that request it.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, it's good for democracy. Being open and transparent will not only help build trust in you as an organisation, but, as the Open Data Institute (ODI) say in their blog What is ‘open data’ and why should I care?, it can also help empower people to get involved:
“If citizens know about their governments they can hold leaders to account, make more informed decisions and demand better services. Open data can also help governments stay on their toes and make better policies for society, the economy and the environment.”
Open Data Institute (ODI)
Our strategic focus
One of the key aims in our strategic plan 2018-22 is to see significant increases in the availability and use of open data in Wales - we want the Welsh public sector to be a key player on the open data stage. We will therefore be working with Welsh local authorities, Welsh Government, the Open Data Institute (ODI) and other public sector organisations, to develop a Welsh public sector open data eco-system.
To support this, we will:
Support local authorities and other public sector bodies to publish and use open data
Improve accessibility to public sector open data
Increase the amount and quality of open data we publish and use
See below for more information about how we plan to deliver against these objectives.
Join the conversation
We co-ordinate a public sector open data virtual network – a ‘community’ of individuals from across the public sector who are interested in open data and are keen to learn and share with each other. Please email us if you would like to be a part of this virtual network*.
*This is an 'open' network so your contact details will be available to the other members of the network. We, Data Cymru, process data in line with the Data Protection Act 2018 and will not use or share your details for any other purpose.
We will be working with local authorities, and other public sector organisations, both collectively and individually, to help drive the open data agenda forward. This will involve:
- bringing relevant individuals from across the public sector together to share learning and encourage best practice (both virtually and in person);
- sourcing and creating user guides, blogs and other relevant training materials (see Useful resources);
- providing direct support to specific local authorities and other organisations, as required, to help them take the first steps on the open data journey;
- encouraging benchmarking clubs and other owners of the data we collect to allow us to publish the data in an open format; and
- working with publishers of data to encourage them to publish their data in an open data format if they are not yet doing so.
We aim to make public sector open data easier to find and access by:
- developing a national open data portal, which will serve as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for public sector open data in Wales. As part of this we will be looking at the data standards that should be applied to ensure the data can be repurposed;
- working with local authorities and the Welsh Government to agree a list of datasets that each local authority will publish in an open format; and
- working with the users of open data to understand their public sector open data needs and how we can help meet them.
Where possible, all the data that we collect and publish is published as open data. Over the next few years we will continue to focus on:
- enabling better access to the open data we publish;
- making better use of existing open data feeds in our own work; and
- publishing some of our own, corporate data openly on our website.