When we first read the results of the 2014 Open Data Index, we said we had big expectations for 2015. We couldn’t be more right: today, the federal ministerial council has, by recommendation of Minister De Croo and Secretary of State Francken, approved an ambitious federal open data strategy. Open by default: an important step to embed Belgium into the digital global ecosystem.
The highlights of what has been decided:
- State owned companies are included: the same strategy applies to e.g., Proximus, bpost or the Belgian railway company SNCB/NMBS.
- “Comply or explain”: all datasets and finalised documents have to be opened up by default. When something is kept private or is available under a non-open license, the data owner is obliged to provide an explanation.
- The default license is CC0 or licenses with no restrictions. This license has proven in the past to be the best open data license. More information on using CC0 for open data here.
- Data should be provided in a machine-readable fashion. This is great news for app developers, yet it’s even more exciting for developers of machines that automatically discover datasets and are able to reuse datasets without human intervention.
- All government services will have to appoint an open data champion, which is the contact point for the datasets within that organisation.
Open Knowledge Belgium, the board and its community members, are unanimous: we couldn’t be more excited. The strategy gives us the needed policy guidelines to build further on a more open Belgium.