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Open data, metadata, and standards

Open data — making data free, publicly available, and machine-readable for anyone to access and use, without restrictions — is a key operating principle for producing data for use and impact. It facilitates greater information-sharing within government and provides public insight into a country’s progress in a way that allows a variety of stakeholders to contribute data, expertise, and resources.

Metadata can be defined as ‘data that define and describe other data’ and make finding and working with data easier, and provide valuable context for both understanding a dataset and comparing across multiple datasets.

Standardization is the process by which data on a similar topic is collected or transformed into a common format. It can ensure national and international data interoperability, and help improve data quality and make different datasets comparable. Without common definitions, it is much harder to compare data and understand progress both within countries and between countries.

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