Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, June 09, 2007

UK govt reports calls for OA to more UK public data

Call to open up public data use, BBC News, June 8, 2007.  Excerpt:

...Commissioned by the Cabinet Office, the report [The Power of Information by Tom Steinberg and Ed Mayo]...said that...much more could be done to open up access to official information.

It said public data should be published in open formats to encourage use....

It noted the many cases in which public sector information already generated huge amounts of business in the UK....

The benefits of making it easier to use and share official information were not just financial, said the report.

For example, in Los Angeles sharing reports about the food safety records of restaurants has led to a significant drop in food poisoning cases....

But the report took the government to task for not putting in place policies that make the most of web opportunities.

The authors recommended that the government work more closely with existing sites and communities that share official aims; do more to help innovators use public data and work to ensure people know what to do with public data and how to get at it.

Among 15 specific recommendations the report said the government should not set up its own sites if existing web communities do a good job of getting information to people.

It also said it should speed up efforts to put data in open formats and publish under terms that let people freely use it....