Publish an open data set - digital guide

This guide is a quick introduction to Victoria’s open data policy for government.

Before you begin

This guide is a quick introduction to Victoria’s open data policy for government.

If you’re already familiar with the benefits and policy of open data, and know what your organisation’s information management policies and processes are, you can skip to the DataVic Access Policy: Dataset Publishing Manual for the instructions on how to complete and submit data for publication.

Overview of Victoria’s open data policy

The Victorian Government holds, creates and collects a vast amount of data, ranging from demographic and economic to geospatial data and transport-related data. Storage formats include hardcopy, electronic (digital), audio, video, image, graphical, cartographic, physical sample, textual, geospatial or numerical form.

The Victorian Government encourages making Victorian government data available for the public good, and the DataVic Access Policy has been developed to support this. The purpose of the DataVic Access Policy is:

  • to enable public access to government data to support research and education, promote innovation, support improvements in productivity and stimulate growth in the Victorian economy
  • to enhance sharing of, and access to, information-rich resources to support evidence-based decision making in the public sector

As a result, Victorian government datasets will be:

  • available to the public
  • easy to find
  • easy to use

Not all government data is suitable for release. Access to data may need to be restricted for reasons of privacy, public safety, security and law enforcement, public health, pre-existing contractual arrangements.

Practical resources support the policy

The DataVic Access Policy GuidelinesSlot game offer a comprehensive set of tools, and direct how Victorian Government data should be released, licensed and managed so community and businesses can use it and reuse it.

Where Victoria’s open data is published

Slot gameDataVic () is Victoria’s open data directory, and publishes a wide range of open data sets.

What does the Victorian Government recommend?

All Victorian Government online services should aim to make data freely available to the public with minimal restrictions.

What standards must be met?

Data must be publicly available

Slot gameYou must make all datasets available to the public.

Review the DataVic Access Policy document for the Victorian Government’s rules and guidance.

Data must be published on the DataVic website

Slot gameYou must create a record for any data you release on .

Are there exceptions?

Slot gameYes. Your agency can restrict access for these reasons:

  • privacy
  • public safety
  • public health
  • security and law enforcement
  • other legal compliance

Manage public records

Slot gameThe Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) (under of the Public Records Act 1973) sets the standards for managing the public records your department or agency create. Always check with your department’s or agency’s records or information management specialist first for the approach to compliance.

Slot gameRefer to How to manage online records for more information or the .


Comply with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014. Refer to protect privacy - digital guide, or the  for more information.

If your digital presence collects personal information, then the physical location of the servers where it’s stored must have the same level of legal protection for private data as we offer citizens in Victoria.


Comply with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014. Refer to secure your service - digital guideSlot game, and the standards on the , for more information.

Information management (IM)

Refer to the guidance notes and policy documents on the information management section of Policies and standards for government IT. Includes guidance for managing records for Office 365 implementations, and a brief IM checklist for systems procurement and implementation. The framework gives an overview of information management for whole of Victorian Government.

Getting it approved

Open data-sets must be approved

Locate the person who manages the Information Management policies and processes for your department or agency.

For a complete and authoritative treatment of the topic, we strongly recommend you review the Department of Treasury and Finance’s DataVic Access Policy Guidelines for the Victorian public sector.

Slot gameTo avoid repeating what’s already well explained elsewhere, the following section is a condensation of the topic, and written for those unfamiliar with open data.

How the DataVic website works: Victoria’s open-data discovery tool

The DataVic website is a ‘discovery tool’. Its essential purpose is to help people easily find Victoria’s range of open datasets – on one website.

Slot gameDataVic catalogues, describes, and makes available for download every open dataset available for release.

Slot gameEach individual page of information on the DataVic website is a ‘Data Record’. A Data Record exists as a webpage on DataVic. 

Slot gameThe Data Record has:

  • a title
  • a detailed description of your dataset
  • the download formats available
  • the data owner (your agency)
  • the open licence


Slot gameThe information about your Data Record on the web page is ‘metadata’ (that is, information about information).

This metadata describes the dataset you’re making available. It gives the person who might want to download it context about its collection and release, and if it will suit their purposes.

Please refer to the

Make sure your data complies

Your agency needs to work through three stages to make it available, and at the same time comply with the DataVic Access Policy.

The three compliance stages are:

Stage 1: Identify the data your agency will make publicly available

Slot gameStage 2: Follow your internal approval processes

Stage 3: Complete the DataVic metadata template and ask Data.Vic admin to publish your dataset as described in the DataVic publishing manual

You must complete the metadata template for your dataset to be published. It can't be published without first completing the template.

Good reads and tools

The DataVic Access Policy Dataset Publishing Manual.

See the information management section of Policies and standards for government IT to access the Information Management Framework for the Victorian Public Service and other guidance and policy documents.

The Digital Transformation Agency's .

Reviewed 20 July 2020

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