Image from Opensource.com (CC BY 2.0)

R&D: Making it easier to create open standards for data

$download_content = get_field('download_content');

Open standards for data are reusable agreements that make it easier for people and organisations to publish, access, share and use better quality data

People to talk to about this

The guidebook helps people and organisations create, develop and adopt open standards for data View the Open Standards for Data guidebook

Open standards for data: why are they important?

Open standards for data are reusable agreements that make it easier for people and organisations to publish, access, share and use better quality data. We’ve published an Open Data Standards Guidebook which guides you through the process of creating, developing and adopting open data standards.

Open standards in practice

Data standards help improve interoperability. For example, developers can add public transport information from anywhere in the world to their apps as long as the data complies with the General Transit Feed Specification. This is how Google Maps and Citymapper provide the public with bus, train and tram schedules alongside driving and walking directions.

Our approach

This project aims to make it quicker and easier for organisations to create open standards for data. The Open Data Standards Guidebook is a step-by-step guide to the process of creating, developing and adopting open data standards. It also contains useful checklists, podcasts and pointers to existing standards.

We gathered evidence about how data standards are currently created and maintained; explored how different organisations are creating standards; and encouraged standards bodies to move to open.

The ODI helped create the momentum to develop open standards for retail banking data and is now using open standards to help the UK get more physically active through the OpenActive initiative.

Key outputs

View the Open Standards for Data guide. Open standards for data are reusable agreements that make it easier for people and organisations to publish, access, share and use better quality data. This guidebook helps people and organisations create, develop and adopt open standards for data. It supports a variety of users, including policy leads, domain experts and technologists.

Read our report: Exploring the development and impact of open standards. It outlines our research exploring different types of data standards, the people and processes involved in their development and the potential impacts of creating standards to strengthen our local, national and global data infrastructures.

Read Open standards for data: user experience – our report outlining users’ experience of developing and adopting open standards. It aims to inform the development of the ODI’s guidance and tools to support the creation of new standards.

As part of the project, we worked with OpenNorth who produced a report and short podcast documenting the process of creating three open standards (Open511, Popolo and Represent).

We also worked with the W3C who surveyed a community of users interested in standards for data on the web, to understand their expectations and to help reflect on the W3C’s role in supporting those efforts.

UK-based software company Porism created an open guide to data standards that reflects the team’s approach to working on standards for UK local government

Open Data Services published a toolkit for policy focused standards and a report that reflects on their experiences of standards development

Get involved

We are continuing to support and develop the Open Data Standards Guidebook so that it remains valuable for the community. Find out how to get involved here.

Contact

If you’d like to get in touch about our open standards work, contact us at [email protected].

Background and funding

This work is part of a three-year innovation programme, running to March 2020 with a funding profile of £2m each year from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

Through our R&D programme, we aim to shape future services and promote productivity and growth with cutting edge expertise.