Friday, July 23, 2010

Engaging with and trusting citizens to participate in the democratic process leads to great rewards for the state

The title of this post reflects the key statement that stood out for me in the blog's post Economic benefits of data release

This article puts some solid numbers behind the value of open data initiatives in government, from the US's Apps for Democracy mash-up competition (50 entries in 30 days, valued at $2.5m for a $50,000 prize outlay) to Canada's exposure of a $3.2 billion tax evasion fraud when public financial data was released in machine-readable form.

We've already had several examples of open government initiatives in Australia. Both the ABS and Geosciences Australia release significant amounts of data under Creative Commons licenses, and a number of state agencies do the same. We've also had three mash-up competitions, the first by the Gov 2.0 Taskforce last year, the others through the NSW and Victorian governments.

I've not yet seen any modeling of the value of these Australian public data releases, which is a shame as I'm sure they would demonstrate value for money, however the international experience is quite clear,

Actively engaging citizens and empowering them through machine-readable data adds value to government processes and initiatives.

Now how do we share that message clearly with senior decision-makers?

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