Open Data Policy Collection

Riverside, CA

Administrative Policy (Jun 20, 2017)

View original policy (PDF)

Sunlight provided assistance with the development of this policy.


Open Data Policy


To provide consistent guidelines and procedural instruction for the publication of Open Data on the City’s Engage Riverside Web Portal. Use of this policy shall assure a reasonable balance between the City of Riverside’s commitment to establishing a system of transparency, public participation, collaboration, and accountability and the privacy, confidentiality, or security of protected City data.


I. Scope

This policy applies to all City departments and agencies. As defined, the policy also applies to the collection, development, and dissemination of approved data and datasets, as defined in this policy.

II. Definitions

  • “Chief Innovation Officer” (“CIO”) is responsible for enterprise-wide data and information strategy, governance, control, policy development, and effective publication that fosters government transparency.
  • The “Open Data Coordinator” (“ODC”) is the departmental representative working under the Chief Innovation Officer (“CIO’) and working with departments and agencies to identify datasets for publication to the City’s Open Data Web Portal.
  • “Data Stewards” are the department personnel designated by a department head, in coordination with the CIO, as appropriate, to ensure publication of selected departmental information and data are published online. Data Stewards ensure that agencies or departments update data at the required interval, and meet privacy and confidentiality requirements.
  • “Data” is the statistical, factual, quantitative, or qualitative information that is regularly maintained or created by, or on behalf of, a City agency or department, and controlled in structured formats.
  • “Dataset” is a named collection of related records, often organized or formatted in tabular form or other systematic organizational format.
  • “Metadata” describes how, when, and by whom a particular set of data was collected and how the data is formatted.
  • “Open Data Catalog” is a collection of publicly available data and datasets.
  • “Public Information” is information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by the City of Riverside.
  • “Protected data” consists of (i) any dataset or portion thereof which an agency or department may deny access, pursuant to City Ordinance or any other state or federal law, rule, or regulation; (ii) any dataset containing a significant amount of data an agency or department may deny access, if the removal of such protected data from the dataset would impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the agency or department; or (iii) any data which, if disclosed, could raise privacy, confidentiality, privilege, or security concerns, jeopardize, or have the potential to jeopardize, public health, safety, or welfare.

III. Data Availability

Each City agency and department shall expand availability of pre-approved Datasets provided in the Open Data Catalog to the public by making it proactively available online. Each agency and department will format the data into machine readable data. Pre-approved datasets may be available in one or more of the following open formats: HTML, XML, CSV, JSON, RDF or XHTML.

IV. Open Data Web Portal

Innovation Technology Department will be responsible for ensuring the pre-approved Datasets are published as a result of this policy and are accessible from the City of Riverside’s Open Data Web Portal.

V. Open Data Access

Any dataset made accessible on the City of Riverside’s Open Data Web Portal shall;

  • i. Use an open format that permits automated processing of such data in a form that can be retrieved via an open application programming interface (API), downloaded, indexed, searched and reused by commonly used web search applications and software;
  • ii. Datasets are made available for use by the City without any registration requirements, however, the City does not take any responsibility for how it is used by anyone upon release of said Dataset;
  • iii. Be accessible to external search capabilities; and
  • iv. Be permanent and lasting according to the City Records Retention policy.

When there is unusually high computer system Input/Output (I/O) activity, the City reserves the right to reduce I/O response on the Open Data Web Portal.

VI. Data Use Notation

Proper credit or citation should be given when using or re-using content, data, documentation, code, and related materials from the City of Riverside. For example:

“Data provided by the City of Riverside (”

VII. Department and Agency Open Data Publication

In coordination with the Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), each City agency and department shall develop a schedule for making information available to the public and updating it on a regular basis. Agencies and departments shall publish datasets with associated metadata on the City’s Open Data Web Portal (in addition to other planned or mandated publication methods), and in an open format. Data Stewards are responsible for the naming, accuracy, and quality of the information.

For purposes of prioritizing datasets for inclusion on the Open Data Web Portal, departments should consider whether (1) the dataset is frequently requested; (2) the dataset helps increase the City’s accountability, efficiency, responsiveness, or delivery of services; or (3) the dataset improves public knowledge of the City and its operations, or furthers the goals of the City.

VIII. Open Data Catalogs

The IT Department shall publish and maintain a catalog of its public information. The catalog will be made accessible through the Open Data Web Portal on The IT Department will also publish a catalog of enterprise systems and remain in compliance with SB272 by placing the required catalog on the City’s web site and the portal, which will be updated each fiscal year.

IX. Identification of Barriers, Guidance and Revisions

The Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), at his or her discretion may conduct a review of existing City policies to identify impediments to open government and identify the use of new technologies. Where necessary, the CIO can propose revisions to such policies, including where greater openness can be promoted without damage to the City’s legal and financial interests.

X. Public Feedback

The City’s Open Data Web Portal shall include a mechanism for the public to give feedback on and assess the quality of published information, provide input about what information should be a priority for publication, and provide a means for telling the City how such open data is being used.

XI. Legally Protected Information

Nothing in this Policy shall be construed to supersede existing requirements for review and clearance of information exempt from disclosure under applicable laws, regulations, ordinances, judicial orders, or other legally binding writings. Data that is confidential, protected, or exempt from disclosure under law shall not be posted through the open data portal.

XII. CIO Leadership

The Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), or his/her designee, will serve as the Open Data sponsor for initiatives outlined in this Policy.

XIII. Open Data Coordinator

The “Open Data Coordinator” (ODC) works under the direction of the CIO and performs data inventory, serves as an open data advocate, seeks additional opportunities for datasets to be published online, and holds, at a minimum, quarterly meetings with departments to ensure progress is being made on open data initiatives. The ODC works with City departments and agencies to establish standards for publication of data and the most effective means for making such data available. The ODC will work with Data Stewards to ensure that the agency, department head, or his / her designee identify and appropriately review all agency or department information and data required to be published in the City’s Open Data Web Portal. The ODC will document and share best practices and examples of how their department or agency leverage open data.

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