USING OPEN DATA: policy modeling, citizen empowerment, data journalism

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Workshop in Brussels, Belgium


This workshop asks a simple question: what is all the 'new' government open data being used for?

The open data movement continues to gather momentum. Local, national and supranational governments around the world are publishing more and more of their data, the scientific and enterprise communities likewise. Much of this enormous volume of data is available under very open licenses and the push for more data and more openness is relentless.

The European Commission's Open Data Strategy is typical of many governments' promotional efforts. In a Q&A press release of 12th December 2011. Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes cites three reasons why open data is seen as being so important: promoting the development of new businesses; promoting government transparency, and increased evidence-based policy making.

On this last point in particular, open data allows all stakeholders to monitor government performance (such as the US IT Dashboard); analyze data through modeling and visual analytics tools (such as in; increase the quality of the policy discussion and collaboration (such as with the Digital Agenda Scoreboard).

But are the claims of huge potential in these areas justified and how can this potential become real?

There is evidence of progress in a variety of fields with some impressive demos and visualizations but what more can be achieved? How can we ensure that the effort in publishing open data leads to its effective usage? What are the most inspiring examples in this sense? Is the potential of "five star linked data" being maximized or might it just as well be "one star data in any format as long as the license is open?" How can the Web infrastructure be improved to support the greater use of large data volumes? Are new standards and new research necessary to unlock more of the power of open data? Is the current Crossover Project research roadmap reflecting the most important research challenges?

The objective of the W3C Using Open Data Workshop, being run as part of the EU-funded Crossover Project, is to provide a joint discussion forum for developers of applications that make use of open data, and the end users of those applications such as policy makers, journalists and citizens.