What makes open data weak will not get engineered away

Open data is still weak but growing strong. I have written a few fairly random points covering the weak points, in which open data may need to grow.

  • With the Open Government Partnership, open data is losing its edge. Open data is being assimilated into the current bureaucratic structures. It might be about time to reignite the subversive potential of open data.
  • There is no long-term commitment to open data. All activity in the domain seems to be fragmented in small projects that do not last long, nor do they share results. We need to find ways to make projects outlive their funding. Open data has an attention deficit disorder.
  • What makes open data weak and strange will not get engineered away. Better tools will not solve the inherent issues in open data, albeit they might help to grow the open data community in order to be able to solve those. Even though open data might be broken, we should not try to fix it, we should try to grow it to fix it itself.
  • People are getting lost on the way to realization of the goals of the open data movement. They fall for the distractions encountered on the way and get enchanted by the technology, a mere tool for addressing the goals of open data. People get stuck teaching others how to open and use data, while themselves not doing what they preach. People stop at community building, grasping for momentum using social media.
  • There is a legal uncertainty making people believe that taking legal actions is not possible without having a lawyer holding your hand. People are careful not to breach any of their imagined implications of the law. Civil servants are afraid to release the data their institutions hold, citizens are afraid of using data to effect real-world consequences.

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