Building on a year of open data: progress and promise

Jennifer Yokoyama at Microsoft: “…The biggest takeaway from our work this past year – and the one thing I hope any reader of this post will take away – is that data collaboration is a spectrum. From the presence (or absence) of data to how open that data is to the trust level of the collaboration participants, these factors may necessarily lead to different configurations and different goals, but they can all lead to more open data and innovative insights and discoveries.

Here are a few other lessons we have learned over the last year:

  1. Principles set the foundation for stakeholder collaboration: When we launched the Open Data Campaign, we adopted five principles that guide our contributions and commitments to trusted data collaborations: Open, Usable, Empowering, Secure and Private. These principles underpin our participation, but importantly, organizations can build on them to establish responsible ways to share and collaborate around their data. The London Data Commission, for example, established a set of data sharing principles for public- and private-sector organizations to ensure alignment and to guide the participating groups in how they share data.
  2. There is value in pilot projects: Traditionally, data collaborations with several stakeholders require time – often including a long runway for building the collaboration, plus the time needed to execute on the project and learn from it. However, our learnings show short-term projects that experiment and test data collaborations can provide valuable insights. The London Data Commission did exactly that with the launch of four short-term pilot projects. Due to the success of the pilots, the partners are exploring how they can be expanded upon.
  3. Open data doesn’t require new data: Identifying data to share does not always mean it must be newly shared data; sometimes the data was narrowly shared, but can be shared more broadly, made more accessible or analyzed for a different purpose. Microsoft’s environmental indicator data is an example of data that was already disclosed in certain venues, but was then made available to the Linux Foundation’s OS-Climate Initiative to be consumed through analytics, thereby extending its reach and impact…

To get started, we suggest that emerging data collaborations make use of the wealth of existing resources. When embarking on data collaborations, we leveraged many of the definitions, toolkits and guides from leading organizations in this space. As examples, resources such as the Open Data Institute’s Data Ethics Canvas are extremely useful as a framework to develop ethical guidance. Additionally, The GovLab’s Open Data Policy Lab and Executive Course on Data Stewardship, both supported by Microsoft, highlight important case studies, governance considerations and frameworks when sharing data. If you want to learn more about the exciting work our partners are doing, check out the latest posts from the Open Data Institute and GovLab…(More)”. See also Open Data Policy Lab.