Open Data

Improving the transparency and accountability of government has become a key policy for the Government since David Cameron wrote to all departments in 2010 specifying that any information published should include 'the underlying data in an open, standardised format'. That same year the newly-established Public Sector Transparency Board with Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt as board members set out their draft principles including that public data will be published in re-usable, machine-readable form.

In June 2012 the government published its white paper on Open Data and in May 2013 the Shakespeare review of public sector information was published along with the government’s response.


The Open Data User Group was set up to review, prioritise and ask the government to release data sets that aren’t available and the Open Data Institute was launched with £10 million funding over five years from the technology strategy board as an independent company to catalyse the evolution of open data culture to create economic, environmental, and social value. 

Under the UK’s presidency in 2013, G8 leaders agreed an Open Data Charter, which sets out a number of principles on access to data and on how data is released and reused.

Since launch more than 15,000 datasets have been listed on But this is only the starting point. The real challenge is to publish those datasets as Linked Open Data to enable relationships to be made with other data. Enriching content and transforming it into formats such as RDF, XML and JSON; using URIs effectively; and publishing data through a RESTful API enables that data to be re-used in more innovative ways.

At TSO we have been working with public sector organisations to open up their data and publish it as Linked Data. We have developed and based on Linked Open Data principles to enable the information to be re-used.

We’ve also developed a range of tools and services that will help government to open up their data and to help developers re-use that data - you can read about these in the OpenUp® Platform section.

Read more about how TSO helps organisations with Linked Data (PDF - 306 Kb)

TSO’s OpenUp® Challenge

TSO launched the OpenUp® challenge in 2011, encouraging ideas for how government data could be re-used to benefit communities both locally, and nationwide. On 23 March we held the OpenUp Final where Professor Nigel Shadbolt announced the winner.

View the video news report, press release, pictures and seminar videos from our guest speakers