Imagine a service that claims all of its data is Open Data, but:

  • Data dumps are not available
  • Data is huge
  • The only way to get data is the API, which is limited to 50 requests per day (0.001% of total)
  • Using several API keys for the same project/endeavour is forbidden and frowned upon

Seeing it branded as Open Data (BY-NC-SA), many people are contributing new items, at a faster rate than 50 per day.

Question: Can this be called Open Data?
Or does the idea of Open Data somehow require that it is possible to download the whole data without resorting to subterfuges?


1 Answer 1


To quote from the Open Definition v2.0:

1.2 Access

The work shall be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable one-time reproduction cost, preferably downloadable via the Internet without charge. […]

So no, what you describe is not Open Data according to the Open Definition.

  • Though there are examples of data derived from open data that have limits. One I can think of is OSM's Tile usage policy which is there to prevent the volunteer-run servers from overloading.
    – scruss
    Feb 7, 2016 at 21:10

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