Who are we?
Iran Open Data is a collaborative initiative undertaken by a community of individuals and organisations who are passionate about open data and transparency. It has been designed and developed by Small Media Foundation. Iran Open Data is eager to expand its community of members, so please get in touch if you’re interested in getting involved!
What is open data?
At the simplest level, the Open Data Institute describes open data as: ‘data that anyone can access, use and share.’ More specifically, Open Knowledge International’s Open Data Handbook notes that to be considered truly ‘open’, data should adhere to the following three core principles:
- Available and accessible, at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost.
- Reuseable and redistributional, meaning that the license should permit reuse and redistribution.
- Open to Universal Participation, so that everyone must be able to use, re-use and re-distribute data, with no restrictions on usage
Why Iran Open Data?
Iranian government agencies at all levels – municipal, provincial, and national – publish an abundance of data publicly. However, more often than not this data is not readily available, or is locked away in inaccessible formats (such as images or PDFs), tucked away in different sections of official websites, or is not digitised at all.
Iran Open Data aims to make Iranian government data accessible by gathering it together into one central hub, and converting it into machine-readable formats (such as CSV and JSON). Iran Open Data aims to become the definitive online platform for meeting the data needs of researchers, journalists and Iranian citizens seeking to better understand their government’s policies and actions.
The openness and free availability of data is one of the key characteristics of an accountable and responsible government. Through its work, Iran Open Data also hopes to highlight the areas where Iranian authorities can increase the transparency of their actions by making more data publicly available and easily accessible.
What is our methodology?
An open data platform should itself be open. A defining feature of Iran Open Data is that all of its technology processes, and the architecture of the platform are publicly available on Github. The code for the site is available here, and the data specification and all the information about available datasets is available here.
Depending on the difficulty of gathering or clearing a particular dataset (we call it the ‘data ingest’), we might develop an automated script to do some of these processes for us. The code for all the scripts we develop will be made available here.
We also rely on a host of other tools to capture datasets that are locked away in less accessible formats. For instance, to extract data that has been produced in PDFs we currently use Tabula, which necessitates a manual process.
There are a number of different ways you can get involved in the project:
- Publish your datasets: If you have clean datasets that you would like to publish, you can send them to us! Please also send along a written methodology explaining how you cleaned the data.
- Suggest datasets: If you are looking for datasets that you think should be on Iran Open Data, please suggest them to us. We will add it to our todo list.
- Write ingest codes: If you’re a developer and would like to help us write ingest codes, please do get in touch!
- Sponsor us: Iran Open Data is currently sponsored by Small Media Foundation. We would like to expand our financial sponsors. Please get in touch with us if you can help!