09 Dec What is Open Data Status and How it Creates Transparency
Open Data Status is a web based open data portal that enables citizens to access what their governments are doing. The platform makes it easier for the public to understand what decisions are being made and what’s happening in their local government, and what they can do about it. Open Data Status also provides transparency between government and citizen, which has been shown to increase trust in the organization.
Open Government Data
In a world where people are having to deal with the aftermath of natural disasters and economic crises, governments need open data more than ever.
Open data is a term that refers to publicly accessible information that can be used by anyone for any purpose.
The use of this type of information will lessen the burden on governments who have been struggling in recent years to provide services while also maintaining financial stability.
Publishing data generated over time empowers citizens by providing them with information that they otherwise would not have access to, and in the process ensures that government officials are held accountable for their actions.
This has been proven to work in countries like Estonia, where there is an increased participation of individuals when voting because they are more informed about the candidates running for office. For example, during one particular election campaign Estonians were able to use public transport at no charge in order to get out and vote on election day – leading to a higher voter turnout than ever before.
With open data governments also become leaner institutions by decreasing their reliance on expensive consultants or other outside sources for policy recommendations by using the collective knowledge of their own people.
Some of the most profound changes that can be seen in open data are what’s happening with government spending, transportation and energy consumption – all areas where citizens’ participation has helped create real change.
More than 300 cities around the world have now launched open data portals like Open Data Status to meet the growing demand for information by citizens who want to know what decisions are being made on their behalf and what value they’re getting from those services.
It is important that governments begin opening up as much raw public sector data as possible, ensuring that it is translated into machine readable open data, so it can be used towards creating innovation throughout society.
Open Data Status allows users to see what types of projects or initiatives a city council has been involved in overtime vote on whether or not they approve of what they see. This of course does not necessarily include the private sector or personal data, but more so research data, or structured data for scientific research.
For example, citizens in Ferguson can view information on all of the city’s expenditures since 2012 and hold their elected officials accountable for what has happened with public spending – including making suggestions to improve these numbers or influence further decisions about what should happen next.
Some countries such as Jamaica Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Lucia and the Dominican Republic, have open data status, which means that the government publishes data about the country.
Transparency leads to increased trust between governments and its constituents which means better outcomes for everybody involved – especially those who feel unheard otherwise.
Open Data Licenses
Organisations and Governments employ Open Data licenses to clearly explain the conditions of their data usage. Examples include standard, reusable licenses for the purpose of providing consistent and well-accepted use. Standard licenses are available with many advantages over bespoke licenses including increased recognition among users, greater interoperability and greater accessibility.
Not all data can be open data.
Although having Open Data Status is a move in the right direction, not all data can be open data. For instance, Canadian government is unable to release certain data for use in public databases under certain regulations. Information security, privacy are some factors why certain data are not released.
Sometimes there are real costs to making the resource eligible for release (for example, digitizing the resource, formatting it, ensuring the accessibility and in both official languages).
There may not be much demand. Any set of data may be subjected to legal limitations preventing its release. It must comply with the requirements of the Policy for Government Security and their related provisions of the Privacy Act.
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