Every good organisation has a mission statement, a short, pithy phrase that helps distil the organisation’s principles down to a sentence that people can refer back to to keep them focused on the job in hand.
At the ODI, our mission statement is “Catalyse the evolution of open data culture”. It’s important to note that we talk about evolving open data culture, not simply open data. To us, it’s not enough to just have “a tsunami of data”, data has to be good quality and reliable. After all, if we want data to be used, it has to give people enough guarantees that, for example, the data will be updated regularly, and is licensed correctly.
With this in mind, almost 12 months ago, we created Open Data Certificates. The idea behind this was not only to give data publishers a shiny certificate badge to stick on their website, but also to give them a checklist to show them what good open data looks like.
It’s been a long road since then, going from something that was just an idea on Jeni’s laptop, to a fully fledged product, with questionnaires not only for the UK, but also the US, Italy and Romania, as well as Mexico and Korea and more countries in the pipeline.
We’re therefore really pleased to announce that we’ve recently had the 100th certificate published on Open Data Certificates. This is a significant milestone for us, as, especially with the Local Government Association baking in requirements for local authorities to have an Open Data Certificate to receive funding for their data releases, it shows that the product is being well-used and is approaching maturity.
However, we’re not going to rest on our laurels. Over the next few months, we’re going to be putting more resources into making Open Data Certificates more reliable and easier to use.
We will soon be crawling datasets on data.gov.uk, using the metadata published against datasets to see if we can automatically generate hundreds of certificates. We’ll then notify data publishers if they’ve reached at least raw level, giving them the opportunity to log in and see where they can improve their data publication process.
We couldn’t get this far without help from our users. The ride to 100 certificates hasn’t always been smooth, so we’d like to thank those users who’ve taken the time to report issues, and help us iron out bugs, and we hope that this time next year, we’ll have an even bigger batch of certificates published.
In the meantime, if you’re a data publisher, please create a certificate for your dataset, and let us know, either via Github or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any issues, comments or ideas.