Countries adopt an open data policy for several reason. One of the primary reasons to adopting an open data policy is to increase transparency and accountability, by making government data publicly available for citizens and other stakeholders to access and analyze.
An open data policy can also promote innovation and economic growth, by providing entrepreneurs and businesses with access to valuable data that can inform new products and services. Additionally, an open data policy can improve government efficiency and effectiveness, by making it easier for agencies to share data and collaborate across departments.
In the pacific region Australia has had an open data policy since 2010, and New Zealand has had one since 2011. Unfortunately not many Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have put in place open data policies. Having said that one promising sign is that at the regional level the Pacific Community (SPC), the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region has embarked on making Data more accessible within the region via the Pacific Data Hub (https://pacificdata.org/). The Pacific Data Hub (PDH) is a central repository of data about the Pacific and for the Pacific. The platform serves as a gateway to the most comprehensive collection of data and information about the Pacific across key areas, including population statistics, fisheries science, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction and resilience, conservation of plant genetic resources for food security, public health surveillance and human rights.
However, there are situations where data may not be publicly available in an open data policy environment include instances where
- the data is classified or sensitive for national security reasons,
- the data contains personal or confidential information that could harm individuals,
- the data is protected by copyright or intellectual property laws,
- and where the data would pose a risk to public safety or health if released.