The answer to this question is a little more complex than simply ‘data that anyone can access and share as the open data initiative was established by Tim Berners-Lee (the creator of the World Wide Web). According to the Open Definition from the Open Data Institute: “Open data means a piece of information may be used, reused and distributed without restriction and is accessible at no cost.” It also states: “Universal participation must be enabled. It shouldn’t restrict any particular field of endeavour, people or organisations. It should also not impose limitations on commercial use or restrict the mixing of different data sets.
A format that is easy to access is a further important aspect in making datasets useful. Datasets need to be stored in a readable format that can be downloaded, processed and then interpreted by computer applications and can be automatically updated whenever new data is published. Additionally, they must be be linked to each in order to provide context and allow for the development of new analyses.
The last aspect of open-data initiatives that are successful is that the primary focus should be on the most urgent issues facing your company or the government. This will ensure that the funds put into open-data initiatives are targeted at the projects that are most likely to yield positive results and bring about lasting value. This could be in the form of boosting job creation, improving transparency or sustainability or encouraging community involvement.