Open government data means:
- Data produced or commissioned by government or government controlled entities
- Data which is open as defined in the Open Definition– that is, it can be freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone.
Why should government data be open? There are three main reasons:
- Transparency. In a well-functioning, democratic society citizens need to know what their government is doing. To do that, they must be able freely to access government data and information and to share that information with other citizens. Transparency isn’t just about access, it is also about sharing and reuse — often.
- Releasing social and commercial value. In a digital age, data is a key resource for social and commercial activities. By opening up data, government can help drive the creation of innovative business and services that deliver social and commercial value.
- Participatory Governance. Much of the time citizens are only able to engage with their own governance sporadically — maybe just at an election. By opening up data, citizens are enabled to be much more directly informed and involved in decision-making and able to contribute to it.
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