Open data is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike.
PWYP-Canada has been at the forefront of the campaign to ensure that any information published by extractive companies is disclosed under an Open Data format. This is crucial if citizens and civil society are to be able to easily access and use the information; without specifying an Open Data format, information could be technically public but not genuinely accessible.
Open Data means that people are able to reuse and reproduce the data as they see fit - for example adding links to the data on their website or creating and sharing a graph that compares data from several mining companies. There should be no restrictions as to who can use the data, it should be available to all groups. Finally the data should be free and available in a convenient format (i.e downloading a spreadsheet from a website). The format is important because if people are to analyze and play with data it is difficult to do so from a PDF. Crucially, when data is open it is possible to combine and compare datasets - which will be essential when trying to follow the money or ascertaining whether a country got a fair deal.
PWYP-Canada is calling on the government to specify that any information published through the Extractive Transparency Measures Act (in force as of June 1st 2015) be disclosed in adherence with Open Data standards and be available via a centralized database. In May 2015 PWYP-Canada members and partners wrote to Natural Resource Minister Rickford and Minister Clement, President of the Treasury Board urging them to ensure an open data format for the Extractive Transparency Measures Act. You can read the letter here.
PWYP-Canada has recently been active in the Open Data community, participating in the recent Open Data Conference and Canadian Open Data Conference in Ottawa and acting as a key focal point for Open Data on the extractive sectors. PWYP-Canada has also been engaging with the Open Government Partnership (OGP) process in Canada, encouraging the Government of Canada to commit to making extractives data available in an open data format as part of its OGP Action Plan.