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Open data in government

The rationale behind open government data can be considered as twofold . First, advocates contend that making government data available to the public in open formats increases government transparency and accountability. Second, open data should enable third parties to leverage the potential of government data through the development of applications and services that address public and private demands.

  • Open access is concerned with making scholarly publications freely available on the internet. In some cases, these articles include open datasets as well.
  • Open content is concerned with making resources aimed at a human audience (such as prose, photos, or videos) freely available.
  • Open knowledge. The Open Knowledge Foundation argues for Openness in a range of issues including, but not limited to, those of Open Data. It covers (a) scientific, historical, geographic or otherwise (b) Content such as music, films, books (c) Government and other administrative information. Open data is included within the scope of the Open Knowledge Definition, which is alluded to in Science Commons' Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data.
  • Open notebook science refers to the application of the Open Data concept to as much of the scientific process as possible, including failed experiments and raw experimental data.
  • Open source (software) is concerned with the licenses under which computer programs can be distributed and is not normally concerned primarily with data.
  • Open research/Open science/Open science data (Linked open science) means an approach to open and interconnect scientific assets like data, methods and tools with Linked Data techniques to enable transparent, reproducible and transdisciplinary research.

  • Several mechanisms restrict access to or reuse of data. They include:

    • making data available for a charge.
    • compilation in databases or websites to which only registered members or customers can have access.
    • use of a proprietary or closed technology or encryption which creates a barrier for access.
    • copyright forbidding (or obfuscating) re-use of the data.
    • license forbidding (or obfuscating) re-use of the data (such as share-alike or non-commercial)
    • patent forbidding re-use of the data (for example the 3-dimensional coordinates of some experimental protein structures have been patented)
    • restriction of robots to websites, with preference to certain search engines
    • aggregating factual data into "databases" which may be covered by "database rights" or "database directives" (e.g. Directive on the legal protection of databases)
    • time-limited access to resources such as e-journals (which on traditional print were available to the purchaser indefinitely)
    • webstacles, or the provision of single data points as opposed to tabular queries or bulk downloads of data sets.
    • political, commercial or legal pressure on the activity of organisations providing Open Data (for example the American Chemical Society lobbied the US Congress to limit funding to the National Institutes of Health for its Open PubChem data.