The Open Data Institute, known as ODI for short, is a non-profit organisation devoted to advancing the benefits of open data worldwide.
What is open data?
Essentially, open data is information that is available, often publicly, available for anyone to use, for whatever purpose, and at zero cost. Open data also has to have a license specifying that it is open data, without which it can't be reused. There are two key components to this license. One, it contains information about the people who use the data crediting whoever originally made this data available (known as attribution). Two, it specifies people who mix the data with other data will have to subsequently also release the results as open data (known as share-alike).
Good open data, defined in a broad sense, also embodies four attributes. One, it can be easily linked to, in order to facilitate sharing and broader dissemination. Two, it has to be made available in a structured and standard format, in order to aid exchange and processing. Three, it has to have guaranteed consistency and availability over time, in order to be a credible and reliable source. Finally, four, it has to be traceable, back to where it originated through processing, in order for everyone to determine whether it is trustworthy or not.
Set up as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, the ODI is headed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee (known as the "father" of the internet) as President and Co-Founder, and Professor Nigel Shadbolt (from the University of Southampton) as Chairman and Co-Founder.
With a corporate motto "Knowledge for everyone", the ODI seeks to "catalyse an open data culture that has economic, environmental and social benefits". It promises to "unlock supply, generate demand, create and disseminate knowledge to address local and global issues." It does this by convening world-class experts on open data, and promotes innovation in publicly available data use and reuse through a process of collaboration and incubation, at the same time nurturing and mentoring new ideas. Anyone will be able to learn about and take advantage of the many benefits of open data, through structured mentoring and professional coaching from ODI teams to empower stakeholders in the open data enterprise.
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Officially the ODI was open for business on Tuesday 11 December 2012, in a ceremony attended by UK Government Ministers Francis Maude (Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General) and David Willetts ( Minister of State for Universities and Science). Work started on the launch months in advance, with another key milestone the official launch of the ODI website on Wednesday 5 September 2012. Since its launch the ODI has been busy securing senior level appointments, reaching out to partners and stakeholders with an interest in open data, and securing funding from both public and private sources.
Since its inception the ODI has secured £10 million over five years from the UK Government, via the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the principal UK innovation agency. This funding is however contingent on a similar sum being pledged by businesses though. With the Omidyar Network (an investment firm established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam) pledging $750,000 recently, the ODI is well on its way to securing its long term future and sustainability with direct revenue and match funding partnerships.
Located at the heart of London's thriving Shoreditch area and in the immediate vicinity of the UK's Tech City or "Silicon Roundabout", the ODI has a convening space over 5,000 sq ft comprising of office area, meeting space, boardroom, pods, kitchen and waiting area. By becoming a member of the ODI these facilities are available for your use. Everyone with an interest in open data is invited to get in touch, join and participate in the open data revolution.
Open Data Institute
65 Clifton Street
Tel: +44 (0)20 3598 9395