The Plain Data Charter (draft)

The Plain Data Campaign promotes data inclusion to make sure that public data is easy to consume, useful and relevant. This is our draft Charter, pulling together the principles we stand for.

Data inclusion means that public data is understandable and consumable by all parts of the general public.
Public data is data assembled with the public in mind and with the right presentation and explanation, that ensures it can be used for the purposes the public intend.


Where data is presented or visualised for public consumption, it is:

  • easy to access,
  • focused on answering the right question
  • telling the story people are interested in

Principles for data presentation

Accurate: To be inclusive, public data must have a trail to the raw or open datasets and show explanations or visualisations of the actual data, which must not be distorted. Elements should be accurately sized.

Balanced: Clear labels, appropriate axis scales, proportionate colour aiding navigation and distinction while avoiding bias – letting people interact with the data themselves and derive their own insights.

Clear: Accessible public data cannot distract the viewer or reader with design, methodology, or other things – the focus must be on communicating the substance.

Relevant: The data must serve a clear, stated and verifiable public purpose and ideally be defined as the answer to a specific short plain English question.


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