Since the Open Data User Group first met in July, we’ve worked hard on getting the Group off the mark to ensure we are in the best position to represent the views of the Open Data community to Government. It has been a fantastic learning process, and I’m proud of the enthusiasm, and theabilities the ODUG members have shown in bringing this change about.
In my last blog, I opened the door wide for members of the community to come forward with their thoughts on how we can best serve their data needs. Today we’re making it even easier to communicate with ODUG on these ideas with the publication of our data request form. This form, hosted by data.gov.uk, will enable anyone who’s got an idea for a dataset not yet accessible – be it because of costs or other barriers – to tell us about it and to indicate the benefits of releasing the data. This will become the growing source of evidence ODUG can draw on to make the case to Government for more Open Data releases.
We are breaking new ground by interacting with the community in this way. Upholding our own underlying principles of openness and transparency we will publish each data request form – unless you tell us not to – so that the resource isn’t just for ODUG, but for the entire community to engage with and discuss. Just because someone else has submitted the data request you thought of making, doesn’t mean you can’t support it – you should do as there is definitely strength in numbers. Strength in numbers also covers any estimates about the benefits a data release would bring, so if you can provide figures and descriptions of benefits to support the potential release of a dataset, it’s likely that we can make it happen sooner.
Next week we will present to the Data Strategy Board what we believe is the first tranche of priorities they should focus on in bringing about easier access, reduced or removed costs, to datasets that will make a difference to people’s ability to build businesses and deliver services. We will publish this document alongside the methodology we’re using for prioritising requests, so you can help us make the case for the most beneficial open data.
The impact of ODUG’s input to the DSB relies on the contributions from open data innovators and entrepreneurs. For too long Government has tried to second guess what data might be of use to the community of businesses and third sector organisations, without fully understanding the needs on the ground. This is the opportunity to get it right.
We’re also establishing an online presence hosted by data.gov.uk. This will enable pundits to communicate directly with ODUG.
ODUG is committed to representing the data community at the heart of government and I strongly encourage you to get involved and send us your dataset requests.