The amount of data that the public sector holds is continually growing. The data ranges from sensitive personal information held to allow delivery of personalised services ( e.g. health and social care) to non-personal information ( e.g. environmental data). This data has value for the organisation collecting and holding it but there is potential to add value by making appropriate data available to others to re-use. We call this making data "open".
Open data is non-personal and non-commercially sensitive.  Open data is easily discoverable, accessible to anyone and able to be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone. Open Data is data made available, via the internet, in an electronic format which supports its ready re-use, and with open licensing which allows its reuse.
The development of this strategy has been overseen by the Data Management Board supported by a short term cross-sector working group, with further contributions from the wider public sector. Its purpose is to help achieve the Data Vision for Scotland and the associated Action Plan. The Vision sets out ambitions for a Scotland which, by 2020, recognises the value of data and responsibly makes use of data to improve public services and deliver wider societal and economic benefits for all. Improved use of data will support achievement of Scotland's National Outcomes.
This strategy seeks to create a Scotland where non-personal and non-commercially sensitive data from public services is recognised as a resource for wider societal use and as such is made open in an intelligent manner and available for re-use by others. Making data open will support:
1) Delivery of improved public services through public bodies
making use of the data
2) Wider social and economic benefits through innovative use of the data
3) Accountability and transparency of delivery of our public services
Over recent years there has been a move towards making more data available to others, such as the introduction of publication schemes and Freedom of Information requests. Open Data is a natural evolution and, if built in to an organisation's information management structure, can become part of the business process.