This year ORG have started work on an Open Data campaign. The starting point for ORG's Open Data campaigning is framing a rights based approach to Open Data. It is becoming increasingly clear that Open Data dovetails the digital evolution of the transparency and right to information agenda, fundamental for citizenship. However, much like before these rights are just the starting point for true participation, so we must also look at what other constraints there may be, for example technological literacy. At ORG we also generally believe in the potential of new technologies to, as well as becoming detrimental, actually increase and enhance citizens participation. However, much civic minded data re-use until now has been geared towards the citizen as individual and consumer, and in terms of using data for complex decision making and collective organisation we have only scratched the surface. We will be advocating a balanced approach which recognises both the possible risks and benefits of opening specific datasets.
One of the pillars of ORG's campaign will be to mainstream Open Data and form partnerships with other organisations that are not yet engaging with these issues. Making the data truly useful means both helping groups to open up data and information, but also building capacity in those groups to make use of the data for visualisation, analysis and generally use open data to increase their effectiveness. A possible focus would be environmental data, which combines a special status in terms of access and a very active and vocal set of potential groups.
By itself ORG will not be campaigning on specific data areas, as this would be outside its remit, but we will be joining with other groups with specific interests. For example the campaign’s first major piece of work is, with FreeBMD, building a broad Open Genealogy Alliance to promote Open Data in the genealogy sector. Based on work so far, and recent government moves towards Open Data, the next year proves to be very interesting indeed for ORG’s campaign and Open Data advocates.