Open Data Study

The Open Society Institute's Transparency and Accountability Initiative has released the Open Data Study.

Here's an excerpt:

There are substantial social and economic gains to be made from opening government data to the public. The combination of geographic, budget, demographic, services, education and other data, publicly available in an open format on the web, promises to improve services as well as create future economic growth.

This approach has been recently pioneered by governments in the United State and the United Kingdom (with the launch of two web portals – and respectively) inspired in part by applications developed by grassroots civil society organisations ranging from bicycle accidents maps to sites breaking down how and where tax money is spent. In the UK, the initiative was spearheaded by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

This research, commissioned by a consortium of funders and NGOs under the umbrella of the Transparency and Accountability Initiative, seeks to explore the feasibility of applying this approach to open data in relevant middle income and developing countries. Its aim is to identify the strategies used in the US and UK contexts with a view to building a set of criteria to guide the selection of pilot countries, which in turn suggests a template strategy to open government data.