About this Guide

This guide is for organisations publishing social investment deal information to the Social Economy Data Lab Specification format. We assume that you have permission to publish the information if you are not the primary owner. For example, if the information was collected or published by donors, subsidiaries or other third parties.

What is open data?

Open data is data available to everyone to use and share without restrictions. Open data is non-personal data released by people, organisations and governments.

You are probably using open data without realising it. An example could be getting around London with real-time travel updates thanks to CityMapper, which uses open data from Transport for London and OpenStreetMaps amongst others. Or it could be getting up-to-date with the state of the voluntary sector with the NCVO Almanac which uses open data from the Charity Commission and Companies House.

Why license Social Economy Data Lab Specification data?

Without a license, data isn't open data and potential users wouldn't know what they are allowed to do with it. We believe that with better information, social investors can be more effective and strategic decision makers. To achieve this, we recommend using an open license which removes restrictions on anyone interested in using, sharing and understanding the grants landscape.

Which license should you choose?

While there are several choices for open data licenses, we recommend a license that doesn't restrict use but does acknowledge you, the publisher. To this end, our default recommendation is the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

With this license, anyone can share or adapt your data for any purpose, even commercially. The only restrictions are they must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and note any changes made. Find out more about CC BY 4.0.

If you are a UK public sector organisation, we encourage you to use the Open Government License. This is the UK government's open data license which public sector bodies are encouraged to use by the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2015 (RPSI).

Where can I find more information?

There are several guides available on licensing open data. A good place to start is Publisher's Guide to Open Data Licensing by the Open Data Institute.

If you need more in-depth guides that cover a wide variety of legal and technical considerations, we recommend:

What if I need more help?

Please contact the support team.