Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, January 18, 2007

One model for OA to public info in the UK

Michael Cross, Statistics are free - now let's work on the rest of the data, The Guardian, January 18, 2007.  Excerpt:

...The Statistics and Registration Service Bill, now before Parliament, aims to create a new body to produce and scrutinise official statistics, free from political spin. However, critics say the proposals do not go far enough.

Technology Guardian's Free Our Data campaign is interested in the bill for two reasons. First, national statistics are an important example of public sector information being posted free on the web. We would like to see all impersonal data collected by government to be made available this way, for the benefit both of democracy and the knowledge economy. Second, the governance regime now before Parliament could be applied to other types of data, from maps to weather forecasts....

"We welcome the general idea, but it doesn't go far enough," said Keith Dugmore of the Statistics Users' Forum. He warned that, as currently drafted, the bill would only guarantee the independence of statistics produced by the present Office for National Statistics - but not by other bodies which generate the headline-grabbing figures on education, health and crime....