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What is Open Data?

Open Data is a realtively new concept within the global scientific community which is gaining momemtum at a rapid rate.

Open Data is defined in the Global Open Data Handbook as,

Data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike.

Features of Open Data

Open data is not just about sharing any data, there are several features which classifies the shared data as Open Data,

  • Fidable
  • Accssible
  • Interoperable
  • Reusable
  • Machine readable


The data should be categoried with proper metadata. The data and the metadata should be properly indexed and searchable.


The shared data and metadata should be freely accessible using an open protocol. For example the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) which we access the internet on a daily basis.


The data and metadata should be interoperable, where they provide qualified refereces to other data and metadata.


The data and metadata should be released in license that do not restrict reuse and redistribution of the shared data and metadata.

Machine Readable

The shared data should be reusable by endusers for use and analysis with minimal effort and processing. Therefore, the data should be shared in a format which is easy for progrmas to use. An example for these file formats include JSON, XML.

Data shared in a format that is not machine readable are not qualified as open data, these formats include PDF documents, images etc.