26 November 2018
Salsa Digital

Open data challenges

Open data policy and the general open data movement is a fantastic phenomenon that’s now responsible for producing many open datasets. However it also presents a new challenge around data quality, data consistency, data currency and data frequency. This, in turn, may hinder confidence of open data sources and inhibit adoption…which goes against the very intent of the ‘open data promise’.

Open data certificates

Open Data Certificate provides a free online tool that assesses datasets against a range of criteria, including legal and technical areas. Datasets are then issued a certificate – bronze, silver, gold or platinum. Open Data Certificate is maintained by the Open Data Institute.

Why get certificates?

The Open Data Certificate website lists a number of benefits for publishers and data users. Certificates represent an independent assessment of the datasets and provide a measure of best practice. Open Data Certificate also provides a free report to help data owners take their dataset to the next level.

For datasets users, it provides a level of assurance regarding the dataset. This helps users who may want to re-use datasets assess the quality of the dataset, which in turn encourages the further re-use of data.  

How do you get certificates?

Certificates for each dataset are based on a questionnaire. For single datasets, users can go straight to the questionnaire, but Open Data Certificate also has an option for multiple datasets hosted on CKAN or that use DCAT to automatically pre-fill some of the questionnaire. Directions are in the About section of the Open Data Certificate website.

The levels

The levels available are bronze, silver, gold and platinum.




The base bronze level is characterised by data that’s open, accessible and reusable.


Data is open, accessible, reusable, in a machine-readable format, reliable and offers ongoing support from the publisher.


Data is open, accessible, reusable, in an open standard machine-readable format, reliable, updated regularly, offers greater support levels than the silver level, and includes documentation and a machine-readable rights statement.


In addition to the gold level characteristics, platinum also has machine-readable provenance documentation, uses unique identifiers and has a team offering support.

Read more about the open data certificate levels.

Data certificates and government

The data certificates provide an excellent independent assessment for government open data. According to the website, government departments currently using certificates are the Queensland Government, the UK’s Office for National Statistics and UK Data Service.

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