Open by Default – Recommended Provisions

Open by Default Home

Recommended Provisions

We propose an ordinance that makes the following commitments which will ensure digital accessibility for all citizens.

1) Local Data is Open By Default

Public data sets must be considered open unless they contain information designated as sensitive, private, or confidential by federal or state law, rule or regulation or local law. It is the city’s duty to ensure a system that embraces automation, ease and sustainability.

2) Creation of Working Group

The City’s Governance Committee will create a working group or advisory board to implement and ensure adherence of the open data ordinance within 3 months. We recommend the advisory/working group reports to the Governance Committee yearly.

3) Data is Machine Readable

This means releasing information in open formats (or “open standards”), in machine-readable formats, that are structured (or machine-processable) appropriately. Plainly, “open formats” refer to a rolling set of “open standards,” often defined by standards organizations, that store information in a way that can be accessed by proprietary or non-proprietary software means. These formats exist across an array of data types; a common example cited is CSV in lieu of XLS for spreadsheets (the former being accessible via a wider variety of software mechanisms than the latter). “Machine-readability” simply refers to a format that a computer can understand.

4) Data Catalog by 6 months

For an open data policy to have a strong foundation, you first need to know what data you have—and so does the public. Governments should conduct an inventory of existing data early in the process of open data policy development in order for the government and other stakeholders to be aware of the full potential dimensions of data release. While defining total information holdings may be a complex undertaking, governments should conduct as comprehensive a review of existing data information as possible, with the inclusion of information holdings that may benefit from becoming structured data themselves.

5) Prioritize and Release

The new working group will prioritize based on the catalog for the next year’s goals. As part of the first year’s guarantees, we recommend that one high value data set, based on community input, to be released under the new accessible guidelines.

6) Licensed Free

The City of Asheville shall license any data it publishes for free re-use to ensure clarity of copyright without legal responsibility or liability for publishing such data.

7) Contracted products and services must adhere

To ensure that the public retains access to its data, provisions should added whenever possible to the existing procurement, contracting or planning processes requiring government contractors release government relevant information openly.