As we become more digitally connected our ability to locate and consume data ever increases but access to useful datasets remains restricted, and freely available datasets remain relatively untapped. The open data concept encourages the release of large unrelated datasets that in combination with other datasets can identify correlations and lead to extraordinary outcomes (as demonstrated in our case studies).


Benefits of Open Data

A few of the many benefits of Open Data. Adapted from Australian National Data Service website at Accessed 10 April 2015. CC:BY Danny Kingsley & Sarah Brown


What is Open?

An excerpt adapted from the Open Data Handbook (2010-2012, Open Knowledge Foundation. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution (Unported) v3.0 License.);

Open data as defined by the Open Definition;

“…data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike.”

The full Open Definition gives precise details as to what this means. To summarise the most important:

  • Availability and Access: the data must be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduc- tion 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 discrim- ination 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.


Open River Type of Data

The Open River recognises three levels of data sharing;

Level 1:Open AccessDataset is open, online and freely available to be downloaded
Level 2:Green Light AccessDataset is online, however requires user to fill out data access request for approval by data manager
Level 3:Direct Contact AccessDataset is not available online. User must directly contact data manager one-on-one to seek access


Would like to make your data open?

There are an increasing number of funding organisations that mandate the open publication of raw data upon completion and/or publication of funded work. If your data is relevant to an Open River catalogue location we encourage you to take the steps to contribute your data. Alternatively, the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) provides guidance on how, where and why to make your data open.