Open Government Data

In this section, you will understand the concept of open data, its policies, laws and advantages, including its nine principles and the general rules for open data. This section will also highlight each individual’s right to access and use the Open Government Data, the quality of open data in based on the Open Data Standards Guide, open data portals and statistical data related to the main axes of open data quality and open data quality benchmarks offered by the General Authority for Statistics in Saudi Arabia.

What is the Open Government Data

Open Government Data is the data that anyone can freely use without technical, financial or legal constraints. Open Government Data aims to promote transparency, increase citizen participation, improve the efficiency of government services, foster creativity and innovation, create new job and economic opportunities, and merge and use multiple data sources to acquire new knowledge.
The Open Government Data can also be re-used and redistributed, taking into account the requirements of the Open Data License under which such data was distributed. Government Open Data helps bridge the gap between governments and citizens. The public benefits from the data provided in different ways, such as:

  • Acquiring a better understanding of how government agencies work
  • Creating opportunities for people to evaluate the performance of various government agencies
  • Allows citizens to use the data for research, and reports, providing feedback
  • Developing web and smartphone applications and solutions based on open government data

All government agencies can opt for the open dissemination of their data for various purposes

Open Data Policy and Regulations

To achieve the principle of transparency and enable citizens in Saudi Arabia to access a large government database, Saudi Arabia has launched related policies and guidelines.
The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) is the national regulator of data in Saudi Arabia. SDAIA has developed the Framework for national data governance to set the policies and regulations required for data classification, data sharing, data privacy, freedom of information, open data and others in anticipation of necessary legislation.
Main Principles for Open Data:

  • Principle 1: Open by Default
  • Principle 2: Open Format and Machine-Readable
  • Principle 3: Up to Date
  • Principle 4: Comprehensive
  • Principle 5: Non-discriminatory
  • Principle 6: Free of Charge
  • Principle 7: KSA Open Data License
  • Principle 8: For Improved Governance and Citizen Engagement
  • Principle 9: For Inclusive Development and Innovation

Open Data Policy

The National Data Management Office (NDMO) has adopted an Open Data Policy that sets out the open data regulatory frameworks.

Open Data Interim Regulations

The Open Data Interim Regulations set the legal basis and obligations for all data and public information produced by public entities regardless of source, form, or nature. It sets the legal grounds and minimum standards for government agencies to publish their datasets. The Open Data Interim Regulation also defines the roles and responsibilities of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) and its sub-entities, the National Data Management Office (NDMO) and National Information Center (NIC). All other government entities have obligations regarding open data planning, identification, publishing, maintenance, performance tracking and compliance.

Open Data Standards and Controls

The National Data Management Office (NDMO) has also adopted Open Data Standards as part of the Data Management and Personal Data Protection Standards. The Open Data domain comprises five controls and ten specifications. This domain focuses on providing Saudi citizens access to government information, portraying the process for accessing such information, and the appeal mechanism in case of a dispute.

Open Data Strategy

The Open Data Strategy aims to Provide high-value and re-usable Open Data for the nation to increase transparency and foster innovation through collaboration, enabling a data-driven economy. The Strategy Vision is to “Maximize the economic impact of Open Data for Sauid Arabia.” The Strategy Mission is to “Provide high-value and re-usable Open Data for the nation to increase transparency and foster innovation through collaboration, enabling a data-driven economy.”
To successfully deliver on the vision & mission, four Strategic Objectives have been identified:

This will be accomplished by implementing 8 initiatives and 26 projects, including awareness and capability building, local and international partnerships, and uplifting technology and infrastructure.
For more information about the current Open Data Strategy or previous Open Data Strategies, please visit the following link.

Open Data License

The Open License applies to all datasets published on the Open Data Portal. It is a license agreement intended to allow users to freely share, modify, use and reuse the dataset published on the Open Data Portal.
Databases can contain a wide variety of types of content (images, audio-visual material, and sounds all in the same database, for example), and so this license only governs the rights over the Database and not the contents of the Database individually. Licensors may therefore wish to use this license together with another license for the contents.
Sometimes the contents of a database, or the database itself, can be covered by other rights not addressed here (such as private contracts, trademark over the name, or privacy rights/data protection rights over the information in the contents). So users are advised that they may have to consult other documents or clear other rights before doing activities not covered by the Open Data License.
The Open Data License allows users to:
  • To Share: To copy, distribute, use and reuse the dataset.
  • To Create: To produce works from the dataset.
  • To Adapt: To modify, transform and build upon the dataset.
Users are obliged to attribute any public use of the dataset or work produced from the dataset in the manner specified in the license. For any use or redistribution of the dataset or works produced from it, users must clarify to others the license of the dataset and keep any notices on the original dataset intact. The open data license allows users to distribute and produce works regarding the dataset, transforming and building upon them. The source should be mentioned in the prescribed manner in the license.

Saudi Open Data Portal

Saudi Arabia provides an integrative database of open government data to achieve transparency, encourage electronic participation and stimulate creativity. By disseminating data on ministries and government agencies openly on an Open Data Portal for Government Agencies, citizens can view, use, and benefit from it. The platform enables users to have a central point of access to find, download and use datasets generated by the ministries and governmental entities in the country.
Citizens can access a large number of datasets available on the Open Data Portal and search by organisations, groups, tags or formats of the datasets.
Users can also benefit from the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) data listed on the Open Data Portal or the National Portal. They are also encouraged to use the dataset request function to ask government agencies to publish new datasets.

Open Data Repository and Metadata Standards

The Open Data Portal has established an Open Data Repository as a register of all available datasets produced by the government authorities and available on the Open Data Portal. It contains a data dictionary with a list of all datasets available on the Open Data Portal, including a list of all files in a database, the number of records in each file, and the names and types of each field. Each government organisation must create and maintain an inventory of its datasets according to metadata standards set out in the Data Quality Guideline.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

The Open Data Portal includes Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) from across the government. It is an excellent opportunity for all developers to use these APIs to build new applications and services for all Saudi citizens, residents and businesses. For more information on using Open Data APIs, please see the Open Data Developers API Guide and the Publishers API Guide.

Real-Time Data

Many government platforms offer real-time data, which also provides Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). You can find the list of examples of real-time data platforms that also provide API on the following link.

Open Data Toolkit and Guidelines

The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) has developed an Open Data Toolkit to facilitate a culture of open data in Saudi Arabia and to guide government agencies and other entities to understand the basic concepts of Open Data and how to plan and implement an open government data program. The toolkit provides a comprehensive step-by-step approach to help government agencies develop an open data initiative, create their open data strategies and platforms, and release more open data in a simplified manner.
The Open Data Toolkit contains a Data Quality Guideline that provides practical and useful information and guidance for government agencies on creating a dataset, metadata, definition of metadata, basic elements of metadata, use of Open Data License, and publishing the datasets on the Open Data Portal.

Open Data Competitions

To facilitate Open Data use and develop a culture of use of open government data for value creation, SDAIA is organising a series of events, hackathons, datathons, and workshops to upgrade knowledge and capabilities in the open data field for government entities, young entrepreneurs, students, and citizens. The events cover various topics related to open data, such as the value of open data, use cases, data management, open data ecosystem, data privacy, and more. The events are focused on increasing the adoption of open data culture and promoting wider sharing of data through practical exercises and study of international best practices on identifying, sharing and using open data.
Please visit the following link to find more information about the previous or upcoming events or competitions.

Open Data Use Cases

The Government encourages all citizens to use the available datasets on the Open Data Portal, which includes Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to build new applications and services for Saudi citizens. Please visit the following link to find more information about use cases and the applications built based on the Open Government Data. You can also submit your use case using the following link.

Request or Suggest a Dataset

Individuals and companies can request open data from government and private entities through this link. Besides, We are constantly making new data views available in Open Data, accordingly and towards encouraging society to share their thoughts that would enhance governmental services; the citizens, residents, and visitors can submit the request in this link to let us know what data they are interested in seeing published as open data without justification the request and released it in the website. Then the beneficiaries can view and vote on the proposed data sets so that the dataset with a higher vote will be published. All government agencies that will receive these requests also will inform the user of the result of the request.