Who is working on Data Standards in the UK and Internationally?

August 9, 2021 by No Comments | Category Data, Digital Scotland

Blog by Lucie Woellenstein, PhD intern – Data Standards team, Digital Directorate.

For the past couple months, I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to work with the Data Standards team in the Digital Directorate at Scottish Government. My role has been very versatile, and in this blog I want to talk about one piece of work I’ve been involved with. The Data Standards team has been working hard to help Scotland’s public sector implement data standards to make their data more Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR). The EU estimated that the value of open data will be €334.21 billion by 2025, and making data FAIR is a big part of this. The team also knows that there is already a lot of great material out there that can help public sector bodies do this.

Part of our game plan is to find these materials and point people towards them, instead of recreating the wheel and writing all our own materials. To find these materials as well as places to go to for help on data standards, we had to deep dive into answering the question ‘what is the landscape in data standards?’.

We did an extensive search of all the organisations we knew of both in the UK and internationally who concern themselves with data standards by either developing them, pointing to them or writing guidance on them. We then spent more time speaking to individual representatives from these organisations to understand them better, as well as how someone can best make use of their resources and engage with them on data standard development. We found out some pretty useful things about a range of tools, Github repositories and exciting projects in the works that I want to share with you.

In the UK, there are a range of data standards organisations. Some are very sector specific like for example the Open Transport Initiative, who are creating standards for open data sharing in the transport and mobility sector. Others, like the British Standards Institute (BSI) develop standards for a range of sectors and not necessarily all of them are data standards. The BSI also represent the UK’s interest internationally with standards organisations such as the International Standards Organisation or the World Wide Web Consortium.

In turn, the Data Standards Authority deal specifically only with data standards and the local and central government sector. This makes them a great first place for the public sector to go to for finding and implementing various data standards. They also use Github to interact with the public to develop and set new data standards, which we plan to speak about in another blog!

The Local Government Association, although only active in England and Wales, is another fantastic organisation that continuously work to improve local government data standards uptake with the hope to develop better interoperability. They developed a tool called LG Inform, which is a platform that allow member to not only access metadata schemas or data standards, but also share and access data and compare metrics on a variety of matters between councils.

In Europe, a really great place to go for guides on various data standards is Joinup, a collaborative platform built by the European Commission. They post ample load of guides on European wide standards that are commonly used.

There are many other standard bodies in the UK and internationally, which develop and publish data standards in specific sectors including healthcare, property management and social care for the vulnerable, just to name a few. It would be impossible to speak about them all here, but if you are interested in learning more, please get in touch with the team at

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