August 16, 2012
(CORDIS) — The increasing use of ICT for business, leisure and public services is leading to the accumulation of mountains of structured and in many cases unstructured data. But this so-called ‘big data’ should be seen as an opportunity not a problem. EU research and efforts to promote open data are helping to make sense and good use of this resource.
‘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. Inspired by the open source software (non-proprietary) and open access (academic publishing) movements, open data is broadly taken to mean the liberal movement, use, re-use or electronic distribution of data.
An important part of this ‘big data’ movement is the use for the wider benefit of society of the non-personal information that citizens share with their governments and public services. Open government data is a tremendous resource that has yet to be fully tapped. ‘Government collects a vast quantity of high-quality data as part of its ordinary working activities. If this data is made open, it can have huge potential benefits,’ notes the Open Government Data (OGD) website, run by the Open Government Working Group.