A new report out from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) shows that some progress is being made on its 2009 call for governments to more fully embrace open data. Authors note that state and local governments have, in large part, embraced open data policy and are helping to drive government toward a data driven democracy.
“We’re continually looking at outcomes. Most important are outcomes for citizens and the positive impact we can make on their lives,” said Tony Encinias, co-chair for the NASCIO Enterprise Architecture & Governance Committee and chief information officer for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. “Among the many outcomes possible with open data is connecting with our citizens. Providing them with channels for engaging with government, having influence on what government does and how it does it.”
Open data is facilitating something new to public sector agencies and offices – collaboration. Because government is both the biggest producer and consumer of data, open data initiatives not only provide transparency out to the general public but also provide transparency within the broader government organization. As datasets become available online, other parts of the government can get a glimpse into the activities of agencies and offices they might not otherwise see. “States are closer to a true “enterprise wide” perspective thanks to these open data initiatives,” the report says.
Along with open data practices, government is also adopting techie terminology, moving away from terms like enterprise or federation and opting for words like ecosystem to describe its newly broadened view. NASCIO says that by moving toward an ecosystem view, government can strive for a single source of validated data and information as well as greater standardization of business practices and resource planning.
Notably, and hearteningly report authors are also quick to point out that open data policies do not automatically make government more open or better at its job. “As more data resources are made available through the open data movement, there is the potential for “over hyping” what this means for open government or even good government.” Instead, they argue open data can be an enabler for better communication between citizens and the government, that communication will is ultimately, the only way to improve and open government.