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Open data

Data is open if anyone is free to access, use, modify, and share it — subject, at most, to measures that preserve provenance and openness.

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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This definition is not fit for purpose

This definition is not fit for purpose because it opens the door to charging for open data at above the marginal cost of reproduction. Why is APPSI putting forward this bespoke definition, when established definitions of open data are already in wide use in the UK?

Most well-known is the Open Definition, which includes a condition that open data should be available "at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost".

Similarly the definition in the Open Data White Paper refers to "no more than a reasonable reproduction cost". That definition was adopted by MPs in the recent PASC open data report.

-- Owen Boswarva, 08/04/2014

Postscript: This comment refers to the original draft definition, rather than the finalised version which is pretty much okay.

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Objection to definition of "open data"

I agree with Owen's points and would also prefer to see the Open Definition adopted. It concerns me that this definition allows public sector organisations to describe commercial approaches to data release as being open. 

I'd add that creating your own bespoke definitions is generally a bad idea. For instance, this definition talks about "the requirement to attribute and share-alike" as though these requirements are to be made together or not at all. They are actually two quite distinct requirements that can be made on their own or together. The Open Definition makes this clear by referring to "the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike".

Simon Whitehouse


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sets a very dangerous precedent for charging

 I agree with Owen; this definition is not fit for purpose because it opens the door to charging for open data at above the marginal cost of reproduction and sets a very dangerous precedent because Public Sector Data Holders (PSIH) across Local and Central Government will look towards APPSI/OPSI/TNA as the ‘go-to’ resource for definition.

The message being broadcast here is that charging for data can be set above marginal costs; which is not in the spirit of the Public Sector Information (PSI) Re-use regulations or the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR).

The new PSI guidelines are in interservice consultation and they are making good progress, officially they are due in June (2014), but they are now expected to be published in May (2014) – APPSI should have waited until the publication and consulted widely with the private sector before publishing these definitions.

Yours sincerely,

Christian Lister


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Should there be any charging?

I thought that one of the justifications for open data was that liberating the data would result in economic gains through exploitation, expected or unexpected, of the data.  If that is the case, levying any charge at all could in many cases be seen as potentially reducing economic growth.  I don't think I would go so far as to rule out charging altogether but I would like there to be a presumption that data should generally be available free.

For sources made available for download, there is a zero marginal cost of reproduction, so as long as the comments by Owen and others are taken on board, there should be no charge at all in any case. 

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