Why do we need open data?


Open data are data that anyone can access, use or share. For data to be open, they should have no limitations that prevent them from being used in any particular way.

Open data must be free to use, but this does not mean that they must be free to access – a reasonable cost is one that reflects how much it costs the holders of the data to reproduce them more widely. Once the user has the data, they are free to use, reuse and redistribute them – even commercially.


Open data have the potential to help grow economies, transform societies and protect the environment.

For example: 

  • Innovation and growth in data-driven businesses

  • Opportunities for governments from growing data economies

  • Impact on society and public policy through improved mobility, new ways of working, and data-driven policy-making

  • Benefits for the environment, through research collaborations that increase agricultural productivity

  • Open data can help make governments more transparent. They can provide the evidence that public money is being well spent and policies are being implemented.

However, it is vital for data to be clearly and thoroughly licensed to make sure that they are fully usable as open data. In the case of COVID19, for example, hosts regularly updated open data on infection rates, death rates and testing on a dedicated platform.


A platform is a major piece of software on which smaller pieces of software and content can be run. Open data platforms are pieces of software that make it simpler to publish and manage open data on the Web.Data aggregators and portals provide access to a number of datasets in one place.

Aggregators may be run by national governments (for example, see, municipal authorities, international organisations or domain-specific interest groups such as an academic community. There are over 500 open data portals listed on the directory



Without a licence, data are not truly open. A licence tells anyone that they can access, use and share your data. Unless you have a licence, data may be ‘publicly available’, but users will not have permission to access, use and share them under copyright or database laws.

Our organization always appreciates the generosity and involvement of people like you, with every contribution going towards making ART/DATA/HEALTH Data Skills Toolkit an even better Non-Profit Organization than it already is. We want to provide you with the correct and appropriate information pertaining to your mode of support, so don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions.


Some government publishers have chosen to develop their own licences. For example, the UK and French governments use custom open government licenses. The best examples are short, compatible with widely used licences, and easy to comply with.

This is one of the simplest ways to help out our cause. We believe the best way for our initiatives to be successful is for the community to actively get involved. This is an easy and efficient way of contributing to the great work we do at ART/DATA/HEALTH Data Skills Toolkit. Get in touch with any questions about how you can Volunteer Your Time today.



Copy, publish, distribute and transmit the information;

Adapt the information;

Exploit the information commercially and non-commercially for example, by combining it with other information, or by including in your own product or application.

For more on data licences, see the Open Data Institute’s Data Certificates and Tim Berners-Lee’s 5 star deployment scheme for open data.