Embracing Open Data

The Guardian recently published a piece on the vital role of local leaders in pushing Open Data initiatives. The article states, “The starting point for transparency – opening up and democratising public data – should have at its heart public service outcomes for citizens and communities and relevant data should be open to all those deciding upon, designing and creating these outcomes.”

It continues, “Indeed, all data collected using public resources should be available in the public domain, subject to the needs of privacy, commercial sensitivity and security. We should stop playing shops across the public sector (eg licensing and charging for the use of Ordnance Survey type data). Fundamentally, public data is a public good. However, when data is structured into information and that information is transformed into knowledge, then value is added – this is where the market can and should play a role and make its contribution to the cost of data collection.”

The article goes on, “It follows that the notion of a public data corporation, driven largely by the interests of institutions charging for public data is ill-conceived and, arguably, is unnecessary. It is at odds with the coalition government's own aspirations for empowerment of citizens and communities, enshrined in its policies for 'localism' and a 'right to data'. Further, creating a new regulatory body runs counter to reducing the size of the state and reducing red tape. The track record of well-intended regulation is one of cost increase. So, what is the rationale for introducing another layer of bureaucracy in the form of a public data corporation?”

Read more here.

Image: Courtesy Flickr/ historic.brussels