[okfn-discuss] 8 Principles of Open Government Data

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Thu Dec 13 10:26:41 UTC 2007

There's a request for comments up at:


This came out of a recent meeting (from the blurb):

"December 7-8, 2007—This weekend, 30 open government advocates gathered 
to develop a set of principles of open government data. The meeting, 
held in Sebastopol, California, was designed to develop a more robust 
understanding of why open government data is essential to democracy."

I've included the 8 principles info below. This seems a great initiative 
and given the close similarity with the Open Knowledge/Data 
Definition[1] we should definitely get in contact with these guys and 
see both how we could participate in this particular instance and how we 
could collaborate in general.

[1]: <http://opendefinition.org/1.0/>

Looking specifically at the principles it seems that they are looking at 
something slightly wider -- what one might term *open government* as 
opposed to simply *open data*.

Specifically items 5-8 (and maybe 4 too) would seem to be very similar 
to existing items in the OK/DD (though item 8 is stronger -- and also 
problematic for that reason: (e.g.) the UK government's click-use 
license is a license but is also open). Items 1-4, by contrast, are more 
about what government should make available and are therefore more about 
the general process of government rather than the openness of the data 



8 Principles

 From <http://public.resource.org/8_principles.html>

Government data shall be considered open if it is made public in a way 
that complies with the principles below:

1. Complete
     All public data is made available. Public data is data that is not 
subject to valid privacy, security or privilege limitations.

2. Primary
     Data is as collected at the source, with the highest possible level 
of granularity, not in aggregate or modified forms.

3. Timely
     Data is made available as quickly as necessary to preserve the 
value of the data.

4. Accessible
     Data is available to the widest range of users for the widest range 
of purposes.

5. Machine processable
     Data is reasonably structured to allow automated processing.

6. Non-discriminatory
     Data is available to anyone, with no requirement of registration.

7. Non-proprietary
     Data is available in a format over which no entity has exclusive 

8. License-free
     Data is not subject to any copyright, patent, trademark or trade 
secret regulation. Reasonable privacy, security and privilege 
restrictions may be allowed.

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