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Webinar: Introducing the Open Data Working Group



Stephen Walker, Senior Director, Open Government and InformationManagement, Treasury Board Secretariat, Government of Canada

José M. Alonso, Open Data Program Manager, Web Foundation and Member, Global Open Data Initiative



The Open Government Partnership (OGP) Open Data Working Group was launched at the OGP Summit in London in October 2013. The goal of theworking group is to help countries adopt and implement more ambitious open government commitments as part of their OGP action plans. By connecting government and civil society experts working on similar issues in  different contexts, countries can learn from each other while enhancing the quality of their open government initiatives. With eachworking group anchored by a pair of government and civil society leads, it will be leveraging the skills, experience and resources of a large group of like-minded partner organizations.

This OGP Open Data working group webinar provides an update on its governance and the activities that are underway in preparation for thegroup’s first work plan. The OGP Open Data Working Group membership comprises 30 nations and 60 civil society organizations (representing 170 people).

The mission of the OGP Open Data Working Group is to identify and share good practices to help OGP governments implement their commitments and develop more ambitious and innovative action plans related to open data. The promises of open government data along with its perceived ease of implementation sound appealing to policy-makers: “You just need to put data on the web in a reusable format and the positive impacts materialize immediately.” Further, while governments have made some data available, to fully recognize the benefits of open data it must be shared in ways that are easily discoverable, useable, or understandable by the public. The effective implementation of open data requires efforts by various stakeholders. With this in mind, the OGP Open Data Working Group aims to:

Provide guidance on open data issues to help governments implement their OGP action plans and develop ambitious new commitments: Open data commitments are among the most popular commitments for countries participating in OGP. The working group will serve as a forum for peer-to-peer sharing of knowledge, good practices, tools, experiences, and innovative ICTs among governments and civil society to help countries implement their open data commitments. The group’s guidance and resources could help governments expand the ambition of new commitments being drafted. Moreover, a more collaborative approach may lead to better, monitorable commitments and, in the end, better implementation and results.

Increase awareness of open data issues across the OGP: The working group will work to advance the understanding of open data issues, challenges, and good practices by engaging in online and offline dialogue, and supporting networking between organizations both new and familiar to the open data arena. To this end, the working group will also link with other OGP working groups and related resources such as the G8 open data charter.

Amplify and broaden the evidence base for open data reforms: While the broader community of open data experts has come a long way in developing a research agenda, significant gaps remain in the community’s understanding of the costs and benefits of open data reforms to governments and society. The OGP community presents a unique opportunity for assessing the development and implementation of open government commitments.  The working group could thus work with participating governments and aforementioned groups to curate experiences, success stories, and case studies, as well as develop cost-benefit analyses of OGP open data reforms. The resources developed could constitute the much-needed evidence base for justifying ambitious open data reforms in the future.

Gather existing resources: Open data resources and analysis have been prepared by a number of different organizations, though this work is often scattered across the Internet and difficult to find. So, the working group could collect and use/build on as many existing useful resources.

Engaging with the broader global open data community: Although open data is still a young movement, there are organizations and groups that have been working on some of the aforementioned issues for quite some time. These include inter-governmental organizations such as the World Bank, United Nations, OECD, G8, EC, OAS and IADB; Civil Society-led groups such as OKFN’s Open Government Data Group and the Global Open Data Initiative (GODI); and bodies such as W3C. The working group will provide an avenue for governments to link to these groups to the extent possible in support of their OGP action plans.



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