The Global Open Data Initiative (GODI) is a new initiative led by the Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Institute, Fundar, Sunlight Foundation and the World Wide Web Foundation. It mission is to share principles and resources for governments and societies on how to best harness the opportunities created by opening government data.
The initiative is intended to provide a roadmap of policies and institutions that countries can use to build meaningful new open data reforms and initiatives, informed by the successes of others. Through GODI and associated work, we intend to expand awareness of open data and related issues, stimulate the development of the global open data community, provide a leading vision for how governments approach open data – as well as gather, expand, and amplify the evidence base for open data in general. Specifically:
Serve as a global guiding voice on open data issues
Civil society groups who focus on open data have often been isolated to single national contexts, despite the similar challenges and opportunities repeating themselves in countries across the globe. GODI is intended to help share valuable resources, guidance and judgment, and to clarify the potential for government open data globally.
Provide a leading vision for how governments approach open data
Open data commitments are among the most popular commitments for countries participating in the Open Government Partnership. GODI recommendations and resources will help guide open data initiatives and others as they seek to design and implement strong, effective open data initiatives and policies. GODI resources will also help civil society actors who will be evaluating government initiatives.
Increase awareness of open data
GODI will work to advance the understanding of open data issues, challenges, and resources by promoting best practices, engaging in online and offline dialogue, and supporting networking between organizations both new and familiar to the open data arena.
Support the development of the global open data community
Civil society organizations (CSOs) have a key role to play as suppliers, intermediaries, and users of open data, though at present, few organizations are engaging with open data and the opportunities it can make available for their work. Most CSOs lack the awareness, skills and support needed to be active users and providers of open data in ways that can help them meet their goals. GODI intends to help CSOs to engage with open data and use it as a key tool of their strategic programmes and activities in addressing issues such as climate change, democratic rights, land governance or financial reform. In addition, we hope to integrate the work of those CSOs already engaged in open data issues and usage, and to provide a map of the landscape of these and related actors.
Amplify and broaden the evidence base for open data
While the broader community of open data experts has come a long way in developing a research agenda and related resources, there is still a significant gap between the questions that can empower an open data agenda and those with the capacity to help answer them. GODI will work to identify areas for further study and development and will help build evidence-based policies and resources. We will also examine how open data can inform and strengthen decision-making processes within government.
Gather and strengthen existing resources
Open data resources and analysis have been explored and prepared by a number of different organizations, though this work is often scattered across the Internet and difficult to find. GODI seeks to aggregate these existing resources for inclusion with the resources we, too, will develop to create a central point of reference for governments and CSOs interested in open government data.
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Image: open government data (scrabble) by justgrimes on flickr, CC-BY-SA
Christian Villum is an open data and open everything advocate, disruptive-technology geek, project bootstrapper & electronic music buff. He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, and has a background in media and culture entrepreneurship, community creation and hacktivism.