Scottish Government launches open data guide

A toolkit designed to help public authorities embrace open data has been published by the Scottish Government.

The resource pack, which has been developed with input from public sector colleagues from across Scotland, is intended to help public authorities develop and implement their own plans for open data.

The Scottish Government launched its Open Data Strategy earlier this year with an ambition for all public authorities to make data available online with an open license in a machine-readable format by 2017.

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The strategy encouraged all organisations to have an open data publication plan in place and published online by the end of this year.

Open data refers to the release of non-commercially sensitive and non-personal public sector information, which is available at no cost and freely available for use.

The resource pack, which has been published on the government’s website, takes public authorities through five steps involved in making data open.

“There are many reasons why the public sector should be keen to release open data, both practical and ideological,” says the resource pack.

“The volume of information available is increasing rapidly. Public sector organisations are large producers and collectors of information.

“As part of their public tasks, public sector organisations collect a wide range of non-commercially sensitive and non-personal data. This data is a valuable public resource, which in the past has been underused.

“Making the data available to the public helps realise the full potential of the data and creates many benefits, including: increased transparency and democratic accountability; greater civic engagement; improved efficiency and effectiveness of public services; innovation and economic growth.”

The Scottish Government last month ran a procurement process for the provision of open data training across Scotland with training courses expected to run for a year from this September.

Colin Marrs

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