This Week: The How, Why and Where of Open Data

A recent study on Budget Transparency for Child Nutrition highlighted an interesting finding: Citizens who want to know what their governments are doing to combat child malnutrition have a much better chance of reading about intentions and plans, than to track what happens in practice. While being aware of the dangers of extrapolating, it would not surprise me to find that this is true in many fields in addition to child malnutrition. Everyone wants to know, what results from these well thought out plans?

My hope from the open data movement is that more of this type of information becomes readily available to the public. The ABRELATAMopen data unconference in Latin America and the previewof the US transparency portal Next.Data.govshowed that transparency and open data is making its mark in the Americas. One of the design focuses for Next.Data.gov is to lead with examples of how the data is being used.

 
 
The question of how all this now open data is used is on the minds of many. Here you can check out this list of five ways people are doing good with data. As well, the Open Knowledge Foundation took a look at the ways that open data projects have been able to successfully scale, methods that haven’t worked, and ones they expect to take off.

Global Pulse wants to make sure that Big Data isn’t forgotten in the conversation, and released a more viewer friendly version of their white paper published last year. What I found most interesting was their example of scraping online food prices as an indicator for real-time inflation of food prices. What question would you like to see answered by Big Data? What data are you dying to see opened?

Weekly updates are written by Taryn Davis of Development Gateway; email her your tips for next week's update to get a shout-out in the post.