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Scottish Open Data List


In February 2019 I carried out the first (almost) full analysis of public sector open data publishing in Scotland. It didn't paint a pretty picture. The data to support that piece is now in this file.

One year on, in February 2020, I started to repeat the exercise. This time my intention was to go deepeer into organisational structures, look at individual business units of government, and to be even more thorough. That dragged on into March and was interrupted by Covid-19. In August 2020 I picked it up again, updating what I'd done in Spring, and completing the bits I'd not finished.

For readability, I've split the 2020 data write-ups into individual files as you will see below.

This was a mammoth task for one individual to undertake. Ignoring the rechecking of spring's work in August, it is at least three week's activity, and it is done in an updaid capacity.

Given the effort involved, I've updated the licence attached to this review to a CC-BY-SA one. So, you can quote and reuse any of the material in this, but you must attribute it to me, and you must share any derivative works on the same basis. That seems reasonable.

I published a full blog post on this on 20 Aug 2020.

Local Authorities

The data for Local Authorities is now located on this page.

Headlines 2020

Sadly, despite 12 months passing, there has been little change in a year. One expensive portal has been scrapped without ever generating any open data, Highland Council but there is one decent entry into OD publishing for the newcomers, Renfrewshire Council.

Scottish Parliament

The data for Scottish Parliament is now located on this page.

Headlines 2020

No new datasets have been added in the intervening 18 months since I last reviewed this. About of a third of the datasets still don't work at all. The confusing licensing arrangements have not been resolved. There are APIs which are worth a look at, but not all of them work. Two thirds of the data sets do appear to have new data added in the intervening year.

Scottish Government

The data for Scottish Government is located on this page

Headlines 2020

In the absence of a definitive guide to the structures of Scottish Government, it is an enormous task to

  • work out the business units,
  • establish which of them have published open data,
  • what those data sets are, and
  • how they are licensed.

I found 147 discrete business units, only 27 of which have published open data and 120 have published none.

The issue with findability of data raised in Feb 2019 is unchanged. There is still no unifying Open Data potal for Scottish Government, never mind for Scotland.

One highlight was a welcome reminder that the whole of the core website is covered by an OGL open licence. Sadly this is not true for most of the public sector.


The review is located on this page

Headlines 2020

  • The NHS Scotland Open Data platform continues to be developed as a very useful resource. The number of datasets have more than doubled since last year.
  • None of the fourteen Health Boards publish their own open data, and
  • only one of the thirty Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs) publish anything resembing open data: Angus HSCP.

Scottish Universities and Colleges

This review is to be found on this page

Headlines 2020

There is no significant change across the sector. The vast majority of institions make no provision of open data. Some have vague plans, many of them historic - going back four years or more - and not acted on. Lumping Universities and Colleges together, one might expect properly structured, and licenced opn data on:

  • courses
  • modules
  • events
  • performance (perhaps some of this is on HESA and SFC sites?)
  • physical assets
  • environmental performance
  • KPI targets and achievements etc.

But I could identify none of that. Overall, this was very disappointing.

Errors and Ommissions

If you spot an error - or missing data - please fork this repo and submit a pull request, as four others have kindly done!

Alternatively email me at with an update.

Ian Watt
August 2020


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