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G8: Open Data Charter, June 2013

Published June 18, 2013

The G8 leaders met in the U.K. during June 17–18, 2013, for their thirty-nineth summit. They released a joint communique, the Lough Erne Declaration on private enterprise responsibilities, and signed the Open Data Charter, which covers the regular publication of government data from a variety of departments.

Excerpt from the charter:

Principle 1: Open Data by Default

13. We recognise that free access to, and subsequent re-use of, open data are of significant value to society and the economy.

14. We agree to orient our governments towards open data by default.

15. We recognise that the term government data is meant in the widest sense possible. This could apply to data owned by national, federal, local, or international government bodies, or by the wider public sector.

16. We recognise that there is national and international legislation, in particular pertaining to intellectual property, personally-identifiable and sensitive information, which must be observed.

17. We will: establish an expectati on that all government data be published openly by default , as outlined in this Charter, while recognising that there are legitimate reasons why some data cannot be released.

Principle 2: Quality and Quantity

18. We recognise that governments and the public sector hold vast amounts of information that may be of interest to citizens.

19. We also recognise that it may take time to prepare high-quality data, and the importance of consulting with each other and with national, and wider, open data users to identify which data to prioritise for release or improvement .

20. We will: release high-quality open data that are timely, comprehensive, and accurate. To the extent possible, data will be in their original, unmodified form and at the finest level of granularity available ; ensure that information in the data is written in plain, clear language, so that it can be understood by all, though this Charter does not require translation into other languages; make sure that data are fully described , so that consumers have sufficient information to understand their strengths, weaknesses, analytical limitations, and security requirements, as well as how to process the data; and release data as early as possible, allow users to provide feedback, and then continue to make revisions to e nsure the highest standards of open data quality are met.

Principle 3: Usable by All

21. We agree to release data in a way that helps all people to obtain and re-use it.

22. We recognise that open data should be available free of charge in order to encourage th eir most widespread use.

23. We agree that when open data are released, it should be done without bureaucratic or administrative barriers, such as registration requirements, which can deter people from accessing the data.

24. We will: release data in open formats wherever possible , ensuring that the data are available to the widest range of users fo r the widest range of purposes; and release as much data as possible, and where it is not possible to offer free access at present, promote the benefits and encourage the allowance of free access to data. In many cases this will include providing data in multiple formats, so that they can be processed by computers and understood by people.

Principle 4: Releasing Data for Improved Governance

25. We recognise that the release of open data strengthens our democratic institutions and encourages better policy-making to meets the needs of our citizens. This is true not only in our own countries but across the world.

26. We also recognise that interest in open data is growing in other multilateral organisations and initiatives.

27. We will: share technical expertise and experience with each other and with other countries across the world so that everyone can reap the benefits of open data; and be transparent about our own data collection, standards, and publishing processes , by documenting all of these related processes online.

Principle 5: Releasing Data for Innovation

28. Recognising the importance of diversity in stimulating creativity and innovation, we agree that the more people and or ganisations that use our data, the greater the social and economic benefits that will be generated. This is true for both commercial and non-commercial uses .

29. We will: work to increase open data literacy and encourage people, such as developers of applications and civil society organisations that work in the field of open data promotion, to unlock the value of open data ; empower a future generation of data innovators by providing data in machine-readable formats.