Andrea Di Maio of Gartner recently articulated concerns about open data processing, particularly the divide between data professionals who have the skills to do so and those who do not. Di Maio writes, “Over the last four years open government and open data have been at the forefront of the debate on how governments can become more transparent, participative and efficient. The theory is well known: rather than (or alongside) providing the government’s interpretation or packaging of public data, this data should be made available in raw, open format for people to build their own views and applications… The downside is a deluge of data. People can easily drown in raw open data that is either too much or simply meaningless unless some processing takes place.”

He goes on, “But who is supposed to do the processing? It can’t be government. Or – better  – it can be, but this would bring us back to square one, with suspicion of government cooking its data to prove a certain point or to hide some uncomfortable reality. Then you have the so-called ‘civil society’, made of voluntary and advocacy groups, activists, as well as lobby groups, corporations and the mythical ‘application developers’. It is reasonable to assume that each of these groups has a vested interest in packaging open data. ‘Vested interest’ should not be read as a negative term. The interest may just be to increase transparency for an activist, or to provide people with better information about a particular noble cause, if you are an advocacy group, and just make a name for themselves.”

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Image: Courtesy Flickr/ opensourceway