Much of the data you'll find in data.wa.gov.au will be open and freely accessible for everyone to use, but there are some cases where you may need to take further steps to access the data. This article will help you to understand the different kinds of access restrictions you may encounter.
Access to data
When you need data, your very first hurdle is finding it – but once you know a dataset exists, sometimes there are extra steps to access the data.
Organisations publish a diverse range of datasets to meet a variety of needs. This includes organisations that have legislative requirements to charge a fee for data, while others make data available in more limited forms such as for research to benefit the public or for use in other organisations.
To help you navigate the diverse landscape of data, we’ve developed six easy to understand categories:
This dataset is available for use by everyone
Open – Login
This dataset is available for use by everyone - login required
This dataset is available for use subject to payment
This dataset is available for use subject to approval
Government Use Only
This dataset is available for government use only
A variety of access levels apply to this dataset's resources
Tip: The Fees Apply, Restricted, Government Use Only, and Mixed datasets have a Request Access button on the dataset’s data.wa.gov.au catalogue page. This is the preferred option for contacting data publishers regarding access to data.
Datasets are labelled with an overall access category, which gives you a quick view of what you’ll need to do to access the data. Individual resources attached to a dataset, such as data downloads or supporting documentation, each have their own access category as well.
Important: Regardless of the access category applied to the data, you should always make sure to carefully read the licence information provided to understand any restrictions on use and what your responsibilities are as a user of the data.
Data labelled as Open has been published as free and open data, and is intended for widespread use. You shouldn’t encounter any barriers, such as registration screens or approvals process, when accessing and downloading this data.
Note: Geospatial datasets labelled as Open will generally have Open – Login downloads. These datasets will always have an Open resource available for accessing the data, such as an online map or a Web Mapping Service.
Open – Login
Data labelled as Open – Login has been published as free and open, and is intended for widespread use. You will usually need to register an account to access and download this data, but no other limitations (such as an approval process) are in place.
This extra step of registering is often used by data publishers to understand who is using their data and for reporting purposes within their organisation, which helps to build the case for maintaining and improving the dataset.
Data labelled as Fees Apply is generally available for widespread use, but requires payment of a subscription or once-off fee.
Typically, this is due to a legislative requirement in the enabling acts for Statutory Authorities requiring them to provide a return to the state, or a commercial decision by Government Trading Enterprises.
Payment is managed by the organisation publishing the data. Please contact the data publisher via the Request Access button to enquire about access and fees.
Data labelled as Restricted is usually available on request if you, or your organisation, meet the requirements specified by the data publisher. These specific requirements will differ on a dataset-by-dataset basis and can range from more permissive (such as “Available subject to signing of a custom licence agreement”) to more restrictive (such as “Only available to academic researchers in the field or consultants working for the Department”)
Typically, data has been restricted due to issues of sensitivity or liability – for example, it may include personal information or information that may endanger lives or property.
Government Use Only
Data labelled as Government Use Only can never be made widely available to the public in its raw form. Access to this data will be restricted either to specific government organisations, or to certain levels of government (i.e. federal, state and/or local).
Typically, data has been restricted to use by government organisations due to issues of sensitivity or liability – for example, it may include personal information or information that may endanger lives or property.
Having these datasets discoverable for everyone, even when access is limited to other government departments, addresses the “you don’t know what you don’t know” challenge and helps government officers and departments to work together more effectively.
Datasets labelled as Mixed have a variety of resources for accessing the data, and a mix of the above access categories apply to those resources.
For example, there may be a publicly available web map or data visualisation that displays the data, while downloading the raw data is restricted.
Note: Supporting documents and links (such as data dictionaries) are usually available as an Open resource regardless of the dataset’s overall access category. These are unlikely to contain any sensitive information and can be useful for deciding whether you should request access.
Geospatial data access
Typically, geospatial data on data.wa.gov.au is made available via the Shared Location Information Platform (SLIP). When a SLIP data resource is Open – Login, Fees Apply, Restricted, or Government Use Only, accessing it requires a SLIP login.
An example of prompts to login for access to geospatial datasets on data.wa.gov.au
If you encounter any of the prompts shown above, you'll need to take further steps in order to access the data. See How do I create an account with SLIP to access geospatial data? for more information.