Sunday, May 11, 2014

Knowledge in Public Domain; Governments come forward with open data policies

The Availability, quality and usage of the knowledge in public domain is vital for civilizations to nurture further. Finding this reality many governments in the world come forward with open data/knowledge policies.
On June 18, 2013, G7 leaders endorsed the Open Data Charter, which sets out five strategic principles:
  • Open Data by Default – foster expectations that government data be published openly while continuing to safeguard privacy; 
  •  Quality and Quantity – release quality, timely and well-described open data;  
  • Useable by All – release as much data in as many open formats as possible;  
  • Releasing Data for Improved Governance – share expertise and be transparent about data collection, standards and publishing processes; and  
  • Releasing Data for Innovation – consult with users and empower future generations of innovators.
In the latest development, on 9th May, 2014, US federal government has released the U.S OPEN DATA ACTION PLAN which will enhance the availability of a great variety of vital data from its various departments in public domain. Already a lot of information is available for free and open worldwide public use from Health, Energy, Climate, Education, Finance, Public Safety, and Global Development sectors.
Similar initiatives are in active implementation in UK, Canada, New Zealand, India and many other countries in the world. While some countries offer data under clear open access licenses, others offer it free but with restricted freedom.
In the case of US they are moving towards CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) license. It is a ‘No Rights Reserved’ license. CC0 places information/data completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law. It is encouraging to note that the US federal government has released its ‘Open Data Access Plan’ itself under CC0 license.

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