Demand for Open Data (Online & Offline)

Saturday 11:30 a.m., Room 403

Sam Lee @OpenNotion, Felipe Estefan @FelipeEstefan, Prasanna Lal Das @PrasannaLalDas

When it comes to open data, much has been done around what we can publish, but much more can be done on identifying what others might need and want (http://bit.ly/OpenDataDemand). Many open data initiatives have been started as supply-driven efforts seeking to increase transparency and leverage new information dissemination technologies--and that's been a good way to start. However, being supply-driven is not the only way forward--a genuinely demand-driven approach would allow data providers to respond to, rather than anticipate, the data needs of users.

So what is the demand for open data? This is a simple question that is difficult to answer. Unearthing even elements of the answer would help to increase understanding, inform the continued practical growth of open data efforts and activities, and hopefully result in more relevant, accessible, and widely-used data.

Another challenge for open data initiatives in an international development context is that many efforts exist online while many beneficiaries of development assistance live in "offline" communities. Some estimate this group to include around 65 percent of the world's population. Even with "infomediaries" to contextualize data for specific audiences, understanding what information is relevant at the ground level, in offline communities, is important to unlocking the potential of open data in development.

During this session, we will explore ways to discover, measure, and understand the demand for open data. The discussion aims to be useful for both publishers and users of open data and to inform activities that will result in more relevant, accessible, and widely-used data.