Why open data?
Information is a resource which never wears out. It is said that information becomes more valuable if it is used. It supports learning, decision making processes and the intelligent use of other resources. Often, information and the benefits of using it are available only for few people. Open data makes it easier to use information wherever it is needed. Government agencies in Finland produce constantly large amounts of data which could be used more outside government. Especially since the quality of information systems in Finland is high.
Information has earlier been published on paper and web pages in a way that makes further processing of it very difficult or impossible in practice. Nowadays, the development of the Internet has enabled the distribution of information efficiently in digital form.
Making information available as open data decreases friction in using it. The aim is to provide more data in a suitable format for the society at large wherever information is needed.
Sharing of government information as open data without cost benefits individuals, communities, companies and the whole society.
Transparency and democracy: Open data supports active citizenship, research and journalism by increasing transparency. For example, it facilitates discussions in social media by making it easier to reference to government information.
Business and innovation: Giving access to government data for free is good for Finnish companies. It breeds new markets and supports innovation. For example, new ways to use information have many times been found by people who have a different educational background compared to the usual users.
Government efficiency: Increasing data openness makes it easier to use for other government agencies, too. Harmonizing information management practices brings economies of scale and makes knowledge transfer between organizations easier. Open data may also help in finding practices where the potential of digital information hasn’t yet been realized.