The term "Open Data" is now becoming commonly used and we (Blue Obelisk) are trying to define it (our mantra being ODOSOS. Open Data, Open Source, Open Standards). It was not commonly used two years ago although the concept is general enough to have been important. In the last 12-15 months there has been a lot of use, particularly in the techie web logs and meetings. The idea is potentially very much broader and looks set to become very important.
The earliest references I can find are:
Jim Kent on the human genome. An Open Data Consortium was founded in ca. 2003 seemingly concerned with geospatial data. Simon St. Laurent gave a presentation without date but it looks a few years back. It has a strong XML flavour.
I became concerned about Open data in ca. 2003-2004 and Henry and I published a Manifesto for Open Chemistry in 2004. I followed these up in 2005 with several mails.
(example) presentations to JISC, OAI, STM Publishers, etc. where I used the term "Open Data".
In 2005 the term started to emerge, possibly independently, in the XML/tech area as in:
It is now a
hot topic among the Tims Bray and O'Reilly
There seem to be several related threads:
- scientific data deemed to belong to the commons (e.g. the human genome)
- infrastructural data essential for scientific endeavour (e.g. GIS)
- data published in scientific articles which are factual and therefore not copyrightable
- data as opposed to software and therefore not covered by OS licenses and potentially capable of being misappropriated. (this is a very general idea)
I think the current usages are sufficiently close that we should try to bring them together. Comments here would be useful. Maybe a Wikipedia article would help?