Open Data Resource Pack

This Open Data Resource Pack is intended to help public authorities throughout Scotland develop and implement their own plans for open data.

1. Scotland's Open Data Strategy

The Scottish Government launched its Open Data Strategy in February 2015, adopting the G8 Open Data Principles. The strategy seeks to create a Scotland where non-personal and non-commercially sensitive data is recognised as a valuable resource which is made available openly for use by all.

Scottish public services are expected to release data in a way which aligns to the G8 Open Data Principles. The principles are shown in the diagram below.


  • Open Data by Default - Those holding public data should make it open and available for others to re-use. Those collecting new data should make sure that releasing data for re-use is built into the process. Over time releasing data openly should become the default business practice.
  • Quality and Quantity - The amount of public data available is huge but the data quality varies. Published data must be supported by metadata. Metadata provides information about the data itself. Good metadata allows re-users to understand the data and its limitations.
  • Useable by All - Data should be published in a manner which supports both easy discovery and easy re-use of the data. This includes making sure it is in a format which supports re-use and it has an open licence. Data will be made available free, with defined exceptions.
  • Releasing Data for Improved Governance - Public authorities will release data which supports delivery of better public services. They will use the data to improve the services and policies they deliver. Public authorities should aim to engage and inform the public through the release of open data.
  • Releasing Data for Innovation - Release of data will create wider economic and societal benefits. Others will be encouraged to make use of the data and develop new products or services for non-commercial and commercial use.

By 2017, all public authorities in Scotland should be publishing their data in a format of 3 star or above. 3 star data is data which is made available online, with an open license, in an open and machine-readable format. Section 7 explains the steps to achieve 3 star data release.


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