What is open data and why it is important

What is open data and why it is important

In 2013 Russian Parliament accepted the law that introduced open data (as “machine-readable data” vs “public information”). Here is the text. And now by law federal, regional and local governments must publish specific information as open data. Since a lot of initiatives from people and organizations appeared. We are going to collect all of this information in our Wiki.

Open data – information about activities of government bodies and municipal authorithies, published in the World Wide Web in format allowed its automatical processing in goals of using and reusing without preparation by human (machine-readable format) and could be used free for any legal aims by any people or organizations regardless of form of initial publication.

– the official definition, published on web site of responsible government body.


Open data is the idea that certain data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control

– definition on Wikipedia

Full and detailed definition of Open Data you can find on the web site of Open Data Commons initiative.

Why Open Data is important?

Today Open Data is one of the most attractive technology among governments, programmers, scientists, journalists and activists around the world. Number of users of open data is big and we see the following reasons of this interdisciplinary phenomenon:

  • Public domain. Real owner of information stored in computer systems of governments is People who are tax-payers and Society generally. And most of experts in this area agreed: this information must be open and free for use for all.
  • Democracy. Governments understand the importance of open data and transparency as real mechanism of democracy.
  • Innovations. Publication of information as machine-readable data (as open data) will allow reuse and automated processing for creating new services, apps and drive different innovations in online and real markets.
  • Effectiveness and dialog. Realization of open data will allow government organizations to improve their own internal processes and establish connection with citizens and civil society.
  • Business value. Open Data is also important for business (and last researches about this like Open Data Impact Map). Except those areas where business companies already use government information for automation their own business processes (for example for “accounting” and e-contact with governments). Another areas for using open data have been found for creating new innovative services, products and startups. Another example is OpenData500 Project that canalyzed how american companies use open government data. Research of Agency McKinsey published report suggests that seven sectors alone could generate more than $3 trillion a year in additional value as a result of open data, which is already giving rise to hundreds of entrepreneurial businesses and helping established companies to segment markets, define new products and services, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations.

We think that Open Data is very important Issue and Challenge for Russia in different aspects: to find our place in post-industrial world, realize innovation-based economy (against resource-based economy) and establish dialog between government and civil society.

Our projects

Open Data Hackathon – annual event for developers that used open data in projects.

Citizen Budget и Open Budget Working Group – research and developments in financial area.

Open Transport Data Research.

Liveable City – mobile app that used open data to count rating of comfortable life in the city.

Initiative about local open governments.

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