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Open data in NSW

NSW’s Open Data Policy covers six key principles, including data being open by default, free, and subject to public input.

Alfred D 20 November 2018

The Policy

NSW’s Open Data Policy starts off by looking at the why behind open data — the benefits to government and citizens and the focus on better, faster and more open data.

The Policy looks at the current environment within the open government movement and the roles of the NSW Data Analytics Centre (DAC) and the NSW Open Data Advocate.

The full policy also looks at the progress to date and some case studies from within NSW, before moving onto NSW’s Information Management (IM) Framework. The IM Framework provides a common approach to data and information across government and helps agencies protect, share and publish data.

The principles

The Policy outlines six key principles:

  1. Open by default, protected where required — This directive requires government agencies to start from a position of openness, but protect data where public interest requires it. Under this principle, the Policy also outlines several key actions such as creating and collecting data to support data processing and release, and incorporating open data into projects and policies.

  2. Prioritised, discoverable and usable — The release of datasets will be prioritised based on demand and datasets should be provided in such a way as to make them discoverable and usable (e.g. following the W3C open data standards and in machine-readable format).

  3. Primary and timely — Data should be ‘as-is’, that is, it should not be modified unless required for confidentiality. Data should also be updated regularly and automatically (with real-time feeds if relevant/useful).

  4. Well-managed, trusted and authoritative — Data governance should ensure open data is transparent in terms of its quality and accuracy and is managed according to security best practice.

  5. Free where appropriate — Access to data should be free by default to maximise the value of open data and maintain transparency.

  6. Subject to public input — Agencies will engage with the public and industry when deciding on data publishing.

Salsa Digital and open data

Open data is an important part of the open government movement informing policy, providing greater transparency and encouraging co-production with citizens. In fact, open data is one of Salsa’s four service pillars for open government. The other ones are open content management systems (open CMS), open platform and open design.

Open data can deliver many benefits to Australia and our citizens, which is one of the many reasons why we're so passionate about open data (read What is open data? for more information). We’ve also been working in this space for some time, for example, working on Victoria’s Open Data Portal.

It’s great to see states like NSW continuing the emphasise the importance of open data.

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