Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, February 09, 2009

Recent news on OA to PSI

Some recent news items on OA to public sector information:
  • A state appeals court ruled that a California county must release geodata in response to a public records request. See EFF's summary.
  • Several sources (e.g. 1, 2, 3) are reporting that Vivek Kundra will be named the new e-government administrator at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Kundra is noted as an advocate for opening access to PSI. (Thanks to techPresident.)
  • Jonathan Gray posted his notes on UKGovWeb 2009 (London, January 31, 2009), including discussions on open government data.
  • Daniel Castro and Robert Atkinson published an op-ed in StateTech calling for government data "to be not only accessible but also reusable".
  • Jennifer Bell, Government Transparency via Open Data and Open Source, Open Source Business Resource, February 2009. (Thanks to Heather Morrison and Robin Millette.) Bell is the executive director of, whose I Believe In Open campaign we've previously covered.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it "is identifying [Freedom of Information Act] requests that have a common theme and plans to use a Web site to provide that information to anyone who wants to view" the information.
  • The OECD's Information Technology Outlook 2008 surveys OECD countries' policies and practices on PSI, and notes that PSI has risen into the "top 10 ICT policy priorities of OECD governments".
  • CNET News discussed the calls for OA to data about the economic stimulus package winding its way through the U.S. Congress. (Thanks to Jonathan Gray.)
  • Ellen Miller again called for OA to Congressional Research Service reports.
  • An editorial in Columbia Journalism Review called for the Obama administration to develop "systems that proactively release government information, and build databases so they can be accessed and adapted by innovators outside government."
  • Ed Felten posted his advice for the Obama administration, including this note:
    ... One key is to ensure that data is published in ways that foster reuse, to support an active marketplace of ideas in which companies, nonprofits, and individuals can find the best ways to analyze, visualize, and "mash up" government information. ...
  • In a CNN op-ed, Jimmy Wales and Andrea Weckerle also called for OA to raw government data.
  • The Center for Democracy & Technology released its memo to the Obama transition team calling for rules "to proactively provide more information to the public online and in easily useable and searchable formats".
  • In The Guardian, Charles Arthur predicted that 2009 will be the year that the UK government will "acknowledge that it must make a significant part of Ordnance Survey's data available for free unfettered reuse and will do it."
  • A coalition of groups convened by OMB Watch released Moving Toward a 21st Century Right-to-Know Agenda: Recommendations to President-elect Obama and Congress, including recommendations that government "should have an affirmative legal obligation to disclose information to the public in a timely manner" and "should create incentives to convert government documents to no-fee, electronic, publicly available documents".
  • The American Association of Law Libraries released its recommendations to the Obama transition team, including a "public domain citation system for legal information" and "version control to identify changes that have been made to a particular [electronic government] document". (Thanks to Slaw.)
  • On the backlash front, the New York Times reports on a Web site mapping donors to campaign groups supporting the controversial Proposition 8, using a mashup of government data with Google Maps, which is provoking claims of intimidation. (Thanks to techPresident.)