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Open Data policy

Goals

OpenTrack aims to make the sport of athletics easier to manage through Open Data.

Much of the work done by sports administrators involves shuffling spreadsheets full of entry and results data, and repeating common information in email such as venues. We believe that we can save volunteers time, and help people enjoy better information sooner, through making this data open and putting it in one place.

Below we describe our plans for the data, and the licensing.

Use of existing open data sets

We are getting started by using a number of data sets which existed before the project began:

  • OpenStreetMap (license: ODBL), which contains information from individual contributors on many sporting venues. We aim to collect venue data in a manner compatible with OSM’s tagging, so it could be contributed back in future
  • Wikipedia (license: Various, mostly CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported), which has fairly complete listings of federations and associations at international level
  • EuroStat administrative boundaries (License: custom)- a database of all the administrative regions in Europe (counties, provinces, towns etc), which we will use to classify where an organisation or venue is based, and to sidestep much nonsense around the UK’s historic boundary definitions!
  • Active Places (License: UK Open Government Licence), a comprehensive database of UK sports and leisure facilities

We are also working with bodies in the sport to get key public or semi-public resources released formally as Open Data. For example:

If you know of other existing data sets which might help us, or you may be in a position to release some data, please contact us via opentrack@reportlab.com.

New data sets we are creating

Unless otherwise stated, our data sets are under the Open Database License, originally developed by OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap has the most similar “contribution model”. Most of the data we are collecting is “hard facts” where the concept of authorship or individual ownership does not really apply. The thinking behind their license choice is explained here.

Organisations and clubs

We aim to give a unique, reliable ID and to create a basic record on every body organising Athletics and Running competitions. This includes Clubs; Schools; companies and individuals organising races; and associations at all levels from local up to global. It will then be possible for to refer to an athlete’s club or team in a consistent way in all entries and results.

Initially we expect to receive listings from governing bodies or volunteer statisticians in different countries. Over time, we will allow website visitors to “claim their club” and to contribute deeper information such as

  • a short recognisable code, unique within each country
  • club logos and flags for use in results
  • where and when they train (this can be syndicated)
  • how to get in touch
  • their fixture lists

Venues

We aim to create basic location-and-name records for all known athletics tracks; for regularly-used cross country courses; and for clubhouses and head quarters where runners normally meet. Clubs can then flesh these out with more descriptive information. This will be useful because

  • when organising a competition, we can just select the venue, and all the descriptive information (where to park, how to get there, map of course) are available on an existing page
  • results can be tagged with the venue
  • people can find tracks, clubs and running groups near them.

Results of competitions

It has been common practice for results to be published, aggregated in results and rankings sites, and it can be argued that nobody owns results. But generally the results of sporting events have not carried any kind of copyright statement.

We hope to establish the precedent that the results of competitions should be LABELLED by the event organisers as Open Data.

This, combined with common reference data on clubs and venues, and with standard formats in the sport, will make it much easier to compile national and world rankings; and if it becomes a standard, will make it much easier to do scientific research into sporting performance and public health and exercise.

To facilitate this, we will offer tools to help organisers check and publish results on the web and in print, by pasting in a spreadsheet. At this moment they will be explicitly asked to give us copyright under the ODBL, ensuring that the results are free for anyone to use in future.

Results will generally include the name, current affiliation and age group of the competitors. If they contain personal information (e.g. detailed dates of birth) this will not be released as Open Data. See our separate Privacy Policy page for more information.

Created works: documents, artwork and images

We also aim to accumulate certain works which are created by humans but which are beneficial to the sport. In these cases, we will ask the author to choose a suitable Open Knowledge license; our recommendation is the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0, “CC BY-SA 4.0”, which ensures that the original author is identified and credited. Examples may include

  • icons and web resources created by volunteers, for anyone in the sport to use
  • photos donated by the photographer for royalty-free use
  • how-to documents related to organising meetings and officiating
  • training materials

If you have created a work for the benefit of the sport and wish to share it, please let us know, and we can ensure it is properly licensed and that people can find it.

Attribution

Our preferred attribution is either “© OpenTrack contributors”, or “© OpenTrack” if space is limited.

You must make it clear that the data is available under the Open Database Licence. This can be achieved by providing a “License” or “Terms” link which links to www.opendatacommons.org/licenses/odbl.

For further guidelines, please follow OpenStreetMap’s attribution guidelines here

If you have a query about any of the information on our site - in particular whether we have the right to display the information, or its copyright status - then please contact opentrack@reportlab.com. The matter will be reviewed by the company directors, normally within 2 working days. If necessary we will take advice from recognised Open Data experts accredited by organisations such as the ODI

Factual challenges and queries

We do not have the staff resources to research and check every fact in our database. We aim to build mechanisms in due course to let you report issues on specific facts, generally through a “comment this page” facility, and to empower local “area experts” to review and adjudicate these. In the meantime, if you are aware of a serious error, please report it by email to opentrack@reportlab.com.

Want to give Opentrack a go?

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