Tim Berners Lee (the inventor of World Wide Web) founded the open data initiative, which is why the answer is a bit more complicated. The Open Data Institute’s Open Definition states: „Open data is information that can be freely used, reused and redistributed.” It also states that „Universal participation should be allowed.” It should not restrict any particular field of endeavour or people or organisations. Also, it shouldn’t put restrictions on commercial use or limit mixing of data sets.
A format that is accessible is another important factor for making data useful. Datasets have to be saved in an easily readable format that can be downloaded, processed and interpreted by computer applications and can be automatically updated when new data is released. Also, they need to be able be linked to each other to provide context, and allow for the development of new analyses.
The final component of a successful open-data initiative is that the focus needs to be placed on the most urgent issues facing your company or government. This is a good method to get the initial support of the top management, and can help ensure that any funds invested in open data are devoted on projects that have the highest chance of achieving positive outcomes and generating sustainable value. This could take the form of boosting the creation of jobs, enhancing sustainability, increasing transparency or supporting the involvement of communities.