Today is Open Data Day, the 22nd February 2014, with multiple cities around the globe , including Copenhagenparticipating.

Open Data Day invites people across the globe to come together and celebrate this concept through the discussion, creation and liberation of open public data. Events will be hosted from 10.00 to 16.00, the majority of which, including the hackathon and various workshops, will take place at Copenhagen Business School. Admission is free and the invitation is extended to everyone; from designers to developers, librarians to statisticians, as well as the everyday internet-enthusiast. The event is as open as the data it encourages, so feel free to join the movement. Further information can be found here.

Öppna Helsingborg – a different open data initiative

If you find yourself unable to participate in today’s events, or you simply can’t get enough of open data, don’t worry – a new opportunity will present itself next Tuesday: Öppna Helsingborg. The event and initiative is organised by two well known names within Sweden’s internet-scene – Andreas Krohn, the man behind Nordics API, and Joakim Jardenberg, Helsingborg’s ‘Head of Internet’.

“Instead of just opening our data we want to find out what kind of data people are interested in. We want to find people who want to create things with open data. To just release the data without users is not always the best way we believe, even if it is very common.” Says Andreas Krohn.

The event, held at the CreativeLab, Mindpark, is open for anyone interested. Participation is also encouraged online, and more than 60 people have already contributed and voted the data to be released.

A brief Q&A with Joakim summarized the importance of data sharing, and allowed us to get to the core of what Open Data Day is all about:

What makes Open Data events so important?

“The real significance with open data happens every day – when new data is released, new services are built, new possibilities emerge for our democratic and economic development. But everyone loves a party, and it’s a good thing to once in a while put some extra spotlight on the efforts. Open data day is a good way to celebrate what’s already been done and get some conversations going on what remains to be done.”

What is, in your opinion, the greatest benefit of adopting the policy of ‘open data’?

“There are many benefits from opening data. These can be classified as economic benefits such as growth and job creation, improved public services and more transparent and accountable government. In short; it’s good for economy, efficiency and democracy. Even shorter; it’s good!”

What does the future hold for open data – do you expect it to become globally accepted and adopted by all nations? Or is this an unrealistic goal?

“It won’t happen over night, and it’s not without friction. But open data will happen everywhere. Different nations have different challenges and objectives with ‘going open,’ but for reasons of the three benefits above, everyone will go there. It’s inevitable.”

What is open data?

To earn the title of ‘open data,’ the data must possess a set of vital attributes. Primarily, it must be easily accessible to all members of the public, regardless of their intended use – be it commercial or non-profit. The data must thus be provided under terms that allow for its reuse and redistribution without the complication of legal restrictions. Also important is that the data’s form be convenient, modifiable, machine-readable and provided as a whole, rather than being offered only in part. This allows for the cooperation of different organisations and systems, and the inter-mixing of material to create even better products and services.

In Scandinavia, a large number of governments and city councils have recognised the benefits of open data and ‘gone open;’ Sweden ranks comparatively highly in terms of the amount of state information citizens are able to access, and several projects, such as Öppna Helsingborg, exist to expand the availability of data even further.