9. Discontinuing data sharing

This step can be implemented as follows

The person promoting data sharing in the organisation together with the IT department

  • stop updating the shared data and, if necessary, deny access to it.

The person responsible for data sharing in the organisation together with the communications unit

  • communicate about the discontinuation of data sharing.

Discontinuing data sharing

This part describes how to end the life cycle of an open dataset and, potentially, remove it. 

No official recommendations exist for ending an open dataset’s life cycle.

The basic premise of open data is that datasets published as open data remain accessible on the public network for as long as possible – even if they were no longer updated, the idea is not to remove them unless there is a specific reason for doing so.

Historical datasets and long time series are of high intrinsic value. For example, it is important for some applications to have access to historical data and long time series. If you wanted to use open data to study Finnish companies at the beginning of the 1990s or produce an application showing how the number of companies has developed in the past 30 years, it is important that the data is available. A visualisation displaying photos of Helsinki dating back to the past 100 years would not be possible if the data were not available or had been removed.

When should published data be deleted?

  • If an error is found in the data that requires the data to be deleted.
    • Read more about error situations in chapter 6.
  • If the information is outdated and no longer has historical value.
  • If a new version of the information has been published, you can delete the old version.
    • However, it is worth keeping outdated information available, as long as it is still being used.

Discontinuing updates of open datasets

If the plan is to give up updating the opened dataset at some point, or updates have already been discontinued, organisations that have already opened their data have usually stated in the metadata why and when the updates have been discontinued. They have also made an effort to keep the data openly available, if possible.

Some of the open datasets in Helsinki Region Infoshare service are no longer updated. Users should be informed about this in the same way as the organisation communicates about significant updates. In addition, the organisation should prepare to justify the discontinuation of updates so that it can respond to potential user queries. Example of a dataset that is no longer updated.

Removing an open dataset 

It is important for the data administrator to note that even if the sharing of the dataset were discontinued and the data were removed from the public network, parties that have downloaded the data have the right to continue using it in compliance with the data access rights, in other words the licence. Most public administration datasets have been published under a CC BY 4.0 (CC Attribution 4.0) or CC0 licence.