A five year plan to open up higher education data was unveiled on Thursday by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Rosie Niven reports on the agency’s key recommendations.
A consultation document published by the sector’s statistics agency outlines plans to migrate as much of its non-personal and non-commercially-sensitive data as possible to open data publication, reaching a point at which the assumption will be that such data is open by default.
Removing barriers to the re-use of HESA datasets will in time lead to new and innovative applications of data which HESA may not have the resources to develop itself, the document adds.
The document recommends establishing a HESA open data champion to provide a focus for the development of expertise and be responsible for the implementation of open data strategy.
Working with the Open Data Institute, HESA would also build expertise in open data publication, linked data structuring and licensing processes.
The agency will aim to publish a number of its data sets in entirety as open data. It will consult with users and data providers, taking into consideration their views and preferences and establish a user community that will enable users to feed in their views.
The recommendations follow Professor Sir Ian Diamond’s report on Efficiency, Effectiveness and Value for Money in 2015, which highlighted the HE sector’s commitment to sharing data, and considered how more value might be derived by opening data held within and outside the sector.
The consultation also builds upon the ‘Creating value from open data’ project led by Universities UK in collaboration with HESA, Jisc and the Open Data Institute which explored the opportunities and challenges of open data in higher education.
You can read the report on the HESA website