Open data, democracy and public sector reform.
Many arguments have been put forward to justify the release of government data transparency and accountability arguments; arguments that OGD can allow citizens greater control over public sector reform; economic benefit arguments and arguments that OGD can help develop a web of linked data. Whilst the later two arguments are addressed by economic and webscience literatures respectively, the first two have received limited scrutiny.
Towards open government data Collection and dissemination of information and data are key tools of government. Governments gather large amounts of data and hold significant national datasets. To be made meaningful data must be represented or contextualized in some way –converted into information. In an increasingly digital society where data can be transferred and analyzed using freely accessible platforms and tools ,the monopoly government historically had on processing and interpreting data is undermined. Pressures for governments to open access to data come from both a Public Sector Information (PSI) lobby focused oncommercial reuse of data and from campaigners interested in Freedom of Information (FOI) and open government.
The last 10 years have seen significant progress for both open -PSI and opengovernment campaigns, leading to
notable progress in the opening of access to government datasets. Definitions of open government data (OGD)
generally require that the data must be accessible, in standard and reuseable formats, and under licenses that
allow for data to be reused in different contexts.Many local and national governments have created ‘data portals’ to list their available OGD, with the UK national data.gov.uk launched publically in January 2010. Data.gov.uk launched with
a ‘developers beta’, suggesting the implicit assumption that the majority of uses of OGD will involve technically oriented developers.