Creating a dataset on OpenSpending

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To begin sharing data on the OpenSpending platform, register on and create a new OpenSpending dataset. To create a dataset, simply fill in some metadata that characterizes your data and provide the URL where your data is hosted.

Creating a new dataset

Log in to with your user information, or register if you have not yet done so. You will arrive at the Dashboard, where you will see a blue button labeled Import a Dataset. Click this to begin creating a new OpenSpending dataset.

The next screen prompts you to provide metadata that characterizes your data. This includes the following fields:

  • Title: a descriptive and meaningful name for the dataset. Can be any string.

  • Identifier: a shorter title, used as part of the dataset’s URL. Can only contain alphanumeric characters, dashes, and underscores – no whitespace or punctuation.

  • Category: one of “Budget”, “Expenditure”, and “Other”. See the guide section on types of financial data for details on these categories.

  • Currency: the currency in which the spending described by the dataset takes place.

  • Countries: a list of countries referenced in the dataset. Choice of countries is constrained by a list of valid countries.

  • Languages: a list of languages used in the dataset. Choice of languages is constrained by a list of valid languages.

  • Description: a characterization of the dataset in simple prose. Can be any string.

Fill in all of these fields. Be sure to include a Description which explains the origin of your dataset and acknowledges any changes you have introduced (for example, any cleaning you have done).

Once all metadata has been filled in, press Next Step to proceed.

Adding a new data source

Clicking through to the next step creates your new OpenSpending dataset and takes you to its Manage page. The Manage page is used to add data sources. It is also used to provide schematic information that allows OpenSpending to interpret the data, a process called “modelling” that will be covered in the next section of the guide.

To add a data source to a dataset, click Add a source. A prompt will appear, asking you for a URL. Provide the URL of the CSV file you published on the web in the previous section of the guide and click Create. You will see a blue text box indicating that OpenSpending is thinking about your data.


Click Refresh or simply use your browser’s refresh button. If OpenSpending succeeded at analyzing your data, you should see a green text box telling you that your data is ready. You should also see a correct list of your CSV’s columns.


Note that if you incorrectly provide OpenSpending with an HTML file instead of a valid CSV file, it will not complain but will simply try to analyze the HTML as if it were a CSV. The result looks like the following.


If you added a bad data source, don’t worry. You do not have to use the source in your final dataset: OpenSpending requires you to do more work on a data source before it can be published. Simply add a new, correct source and forget about the bad one.

Next: Modelling your data in OpenSpending

Up: OpenSpending Guide