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Polit.ru Open Data project

The following guest post is from Ivan Begtin, founder of OpenGovData.ru and member of the OKF’s Working Group on Open Government Data.

On 27 June 2011, news and analysis channel Polit.ru launched a special project called “Open Data”, regarding the issues of publishing the data of governmental structures in a format that allows further processing (i.e. open data). The project will also consider the initiatives regarding how to process this data in order to enhance civil control over the activities of government agencies.

From Boris Dolgin, Polit.ru science editor

Real academics have a common rule: conclusions based on an accidental selection of sources are invalid. Similarly, a clever reader of analytics is no longer satisfied with the sophisticated combinations of illustrating figures. No matter whether these figures come from advocates of power who try to make an impression that all good things are on the increase and bad things are declining; or from radical populists who provide measured disclosures, which fit well into the backstage scuffle.
A whole scope of the data available for processing by anyone is a principally different sort of material. Any individual can work with it and share the original, method and results with others. It is not similar to WikiLeaks: in this case, nobody tries to resort to the hypocritical rhetoric of absolute transparent diplomacy or to disclose the secrets of private conversations. It is about processing the data in the cases where publicity is not only realistic and morally justified, but is also obligatory in terms of the current law. As an expert media outlet, Polit.ru has to play the leading role in implementing a new approach to processing data.

From Dmitry Izkovich, Chief of editorial board of Polit.ru

Freedom as such presupposes the freedom of movement. Similarly, the information freedom presupposes the potential emergence of an open information space. It is also important that processing open data can be strategy-orientated, as opposed to the tactically-orientated movements of the current political environment. Right here and now we can begin to improve our life. At the moment, it is vital to realise what can be done for the development of the projects based on open data in Russia. There is also a question as to how much it depends on the government and media and what role each side will play in it. In this area, it is certainly important to develop both the supply and the demand. It is wrong to think that the supply must necessarily come from the government and the demand is only about individuals. Open data is similar to freedom: we have to learn how to use it.

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