Open Data Monthly Review 07/2012

A review of latest news and blog posts in the field of open data.   

IN THE NEWS:

The new era of open data that this government has heralded with its open data white paper, published on 28 June, can be summed up as: more data, more easily accessible and in a readily usable form, to increase government accountability, drive improved public services, increase choice, and feed innovation and growth. 

Comment The government has just published its ideas for allowing general access to data, which includes the intention to grant individuals online access to their own personal data. In general, I support this measure but sadly, the Open Data White Paper (PDF) has not even considered that it has widened the privacy problems associated with “enforced subject access”*. 

The government’s open data initiative, outlined in its white paper on 27 June, is a move towards making government data publicly available, to encourage its reuse. 

Today’s first meeting of the Open Data User Group (ODUG) has been hailed by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, as another important step in the Government’s open data revolution. 

Managers — not technology or budget — now may be the biggest obstacles to government data transparency. Information technology bosses and government administrators are reluctant to invest time and staff in projects in which they feel they hold little stake, according to participants at the 2012 International Open Data conference.

2006 as we rolled out the first public draft of the Talis Community Licence, the world of data licensing seemed a simple place. Today, the Open Knowledge Foundation‘s Data Hub contains 3,888 data sets, many of which are explicitly licensed with respect to the Open Definition. But many are still not explicitly licensed.

Call for research proposals: exploring the emerging impacts of open data in developing countries. Open data has become a hot topic around the world. Open data initiatives, from governments and grassroots groups are emerging in a wide range of settings. But what impacts do they have? And how can they lead to greater transparency and accountability, efficiency and innovation, and greater social inclusion? 

Open education can only happen with free knowledge. Free knowledge does not exist without open data (and information). Open education should focus on wisdom, truth, beauty, love and music (art). 

The Open data user group (Odug) is up and running, and held its first meeting in Hackney House, off Shoreditch High Street, on 10 July. 

The coalition government has made transparency and open data a defining theme of its agenda and has set out its ambition for the UK to become a world leader in informatics and healthcare data management

MUMBAI: The UK’s Department for International Development ( DFID), a key donor to development projects in India recently offered a welcome shot of transparency. In a bid to make its data more accessible to the public in developing countries, it has introduced a policy that would make it binding on researchers receiving its funding to share their reports and analysis online, at no cost. 

 Being a Semantic Web, Open Linked Data, Open Source enthusiast, and at some point the contributor to the AP for the FOAF and other metadata standards, recently I had an opportunity to talk with Kingsley Idehen on his current projects,  views on the use of the Web technologies, Open Linked Data,  WebID, serendipity, and certain aspects of the Internet that influence our everyday lives. 

It’s been a big year for the UK government’s open data agenda. Chris Yiu reviews what’s been achieved and asks what needs to happen next. 
IN THE BLOGS:

Open Data are the basis for government innovation. This isn’t because open data make government more transparent or accountable. Like Tom Slee, I have serious doubts about whether it does either of those things. In any event, shining a light on the misdeeds of ineffective institutions isn’t as imperative as redesigning how they work.

Hundreds of open data experts and enthusiasts from more than 50 countries are expected at the second International Open Government Data Conference (IOGDC) —a look at the impact and promise of open data in cities, countries and institutions around the world. 

A few weeks ago, Tom Slee published “Seeing Like a Geek,” a thoughtful article on the dark side of open data. He starts with the story of a Dalit community in India, whose land was transferred to a group of higher cast Mudaliars through bureaucratic manipulation under the guise of standardizing and digitizing property records. 

Our democratic system is based on the idea that citizens play an important role in how government decisions get made. Without citizen participation, democracy doesn’t work. 

This morning I was reading a recent blog post by Laurenellen McCann, Open Data Policy Guidelines, from the Sunlight Foundation. I found the blog post fascinating, and believed this would be a great resource for the GovLoop community to check out, especially if you are involved in Gov 2.0 or open data initiatives within your agency. 

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