Answered By: Reference and Research Desk
Last Updated: Jul 11, 2018     Views: 2

The Open Knowledge Foundation's Open Data Handbook describes open data as "data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike."

The key elements of open data are:

  • 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 re-use and redistribution including the intermixing with other datasets.
  • Universal Participation: everyone must be able to use, re-use 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. 

For more information and links to Open Data sources, check out this page on our Open Access LibGuide.