James Vincent of The Independent recently wrote, “Officially launched on 4 of December the Open Data Institute (ODI) is an independent, non-profit and non-partisan company that aims to become the UK’s premier academy of big data. Considering the current hype surrounding terms such as ‘big data’, there are some that might view this new initiative with suspicion but the ODI seems part of an understated if confident shift in how the UK is taking advantage of a natural resource of the information age: data. The project was first conceived by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton Nigel Shadbolt. The pair made a joint statement in The Times, detailing their vision for data-driven innovation and increased government transparency regarding this information.”

Vincent continues, “They describe the main goal of the ODI as ‘[helping] the public sector to use its own data more effectively,’ allowing private companies and public institutions to ‘develop the capability of UK businesses to exploit open data, fostering a generation of open data entrepreneurs.’ So far these goals seem well-grounded; in terms of both investment and the UK’s current climate of data-access. The ODI is receiving £10m over the next five years from the Technology Strategy Board, a non-departmental public body specialising in tech research and development, and $750,000 over two years from the Omidyar Network (a philanthropic investment firm), whilst recent research by Deloitte has identified a 285 per cent increase in page views at data.gov.uk between January 2010 and September 2012.”

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Image: Courtesy ODI