[od-discuss] OD v2 accepts Excel as OpenData?!???

Benjamin Ooghe-Tabanou b.ooghe at gmail.com
Tue Oct 7 14:14:41 UTC 2014

Hello there,

I feel guilty for not having taken the time earlier to participate in
the drafting process but I was assuming the principles of the old v1
and the 10 principles would always keep in line. Although, I believe
it could have been nice before releasing anything to send the final
draft to the various okfn mailing-lists.

Although, just reading the first part of the v2, I'm really alarmed by
point 1.3 on the formats. The sentence ends with: open format OR "at
the very least, can be processed with at least one
free/libre/open-source software tool"

So basically, since you can open it within LibreOffice, data in excel
formats will be considered as Open according to the OpenDefinition v2!

This is a real step backwards which sounds really in total
disagreement with everything that we all stand for and have been
fighting for in the past few years, whether during the re-PSI debates
at the EU Parliament or in our respective countries.

In such condition, I personnally (and I guess Regards Citoyens as
well) won't be able to use the OD as a reference anymore or only the
v1, and probably get back to the good old 10 principles.

I must say I really do not understand how such a piece of sentence
could have appear there, it really looks a lot alike Microsoft's
amendments when the EU Parliament was defining machine readable and
reusable. I can only imagine this was a way to include all those
official datasets published on national catalogs in Excel, but if such
I believe we really do not want these to be considered as OpenData.
They are to the contrary our best advocacy examples to point to
governments and make them understand why they have to switch from
formatted spreadsheet to actual data as csv. Including them in the
standards won't help anyone!

I can only hope this can still be changed and will be towards a
v2.0.1. Hope I'm not the only one!


On Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 1:40 PM, Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org> wrote:
> Hi All,
> The v2.0 announce has gone live as planned. Announce text is below if people
> want to forward and can also be found in "source" form near the top of the
> announce doc.
> In terms of online post, we have:
> [Herb/Rufus/Susanne] PR + Open Knowledge Blog
> [Tim] Creative Commons Blog
> [Herb] Government of Canada Blog
> [Andrew] World Bank Blog
> Let me know when you've posted and we can tweet etc.
> In terms of mailing lists we have a list at the top of the announce doc. I'm
> crossing off the ones I've done so far.
> Huge well done to everyone and bigs thanks, especially to Mike and Herb who
> have been the Chairs during this process and who have done an immense amount
> to get us to this point.
> Regards,
> Rufus
> Online at:
> http://blog.okfn.org/2014/10/07/open-definition-v2-0-released-major-update-of-essential-standard-for-open-data-and-open-content/
> ANN: Open Definition v2.0 Released - Major Update of Essential Standard for
> Open Data and Open Content
> Today Open Knowledge and the Open Definition Advisory Council are pleased to
> announce the release of version 2.0 of the Open Definition. The Definition
> “sets out principles that define openness in relation to data and content”
> and plays a key role in supporting the growing open data ecosystem.
> Recent years have seen an explosion in the release of open data by dozens of
> governments including the G8. Recent estimates by McKinsey put the potential
> benefits of open data at over $1 trillion and others estimates put benefits
> at more than 1% of global GDP.
> However, these benefits are at significant risk both from quality problems
> such as “open-washing” (non-open data being passed off as open) and from
> fragmentation of the open data ecosystem due to incompatibility between the
> growing number of “open” licenses.
> The Open Definition eliminates these risks and ensures we realize the full
> benefits of open by  guaranteeing quality and preventing incompatibility.
> See this recent post for more about why the Open Definition is so important.
> Created in 2005, this new version of the Open Definition is the most
> significant revision in the Definition’s nearly ten-year history and
> reflects more than a year of discussion and consultation with the community
> including input from experts involved in open data, open access, open
> culture, open education, open government, and open source.  As well as major
> revisions to the text there is a new process for reviewing licenses which
> has been trialled with major governments including the UK.
> The Open Definition was published in 2005 by Open Knowledge and is
> maintained today by an expert Advisory Council. This new version of the Open
> Definition is the most significant revision in the Definition’s nearly
> ten-year history.
> It reflects more than a year of discussion and consultation with the
> community including input from experts involved in open data, open access,
> open culture, open education, open government, and open source. Whilst there
> are no changes to the core principles, the Definition has been completely
> reworked with a new structure and revised text as well as a new process for
> reviewing licenses (which has been trialled with governments including the
> UK).
> Herb Lainchbury, Chair of the Open Definition Advisory Council, said:
> ‘The Open Definition describes the principles that define “openness” in
> relation to data and content, and is used to assess whether a particular
> licence meets that standard.  A key goal of this new version is to make it
> easier to assess whether the growing number of open licenses actually make
> the grade. The more we can increase everyone’s confidence in their use of
> open works,  the more they will be able to focus on creating value with open
> works.’
> Rufus Pollock, President and Founder of Open Knowledge said:
> ‘Since we created the Open Definition in 2005 it has played a key role in
> the growing open data and open content communities. It acts as the ‘gold
> standard’ for open data and content guaranteeing quality and preventing
> incompatibility. As a standard, the Open Definition plays a key role in
> underpinning the ‘open knowledge economy’ with a potential value that runs
> into the hundreds of billions - or even trillions - worldwide.’
> What’s New
> In process for more than a year, the new version was collaboratively and
> openly developed with input from experts involved in open access, open
> culture, open data, open education, open government, open source and wiki
> communities. The new version of the definition:
> Has a complete rewrite of the core principles - preserving their meaning but
> using simpler language and clarifying key aspects.
> Introduces a clear separation of the definition of an open license from an
> open work (with the latter depending on the former). This not only
> simplifies the conceptual structure but provides a proper definition of open
> license and makes it easier to “self-assess” licenses for conformance with
> the Open Definition.
> The definition of an Open Work within the Open Definition is now a set of
> three key principles:
> Open License: The work must be available under an open license (as defined
> in the following section but this includes freedom to use, build on, modify
> and share).
> Access: The work shall be available as a whole and at no more than a
> reasonable one-time reproduction cost, preferably downloadable via the
> Internet without charge
> Open Format: The work must be provided in a convenient and modifiable form
> such that there are no unnecessary technological obstacles to the
> performance of the licensed rights. Specifically, data should be
> machine-readable, available in bulk, and provided in an open format or, at
> the very least, can be processed with at least one free/libre/open-source
> software tool.
> Includes improved license approval process to make it easier for license
> creators to check conformance of their license with the Open Definition and
> to encourage reuse of existing open licenses (rrareuse and outlines the
> process for submitting a license so that it can be checked for conformance
> against the Open Definition.
> More Information
> For more information about the Open Definition including the updated version
> visit: http://opendefinition.org/
> For background on why the Open Definition matters, read the recent  article
> ‘Why the Open Definition Matters’
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