There are two Cabinet Office consultations taking place at the moment around open data: one around data policy for the new Public Data Corporation (PDC), and another around the government’s policy around transparency and open data strategy.
This should be of enormous interest to any media organisation – a key opportunity to influence the availability of information of public interest.
For example, among the issues under consideration are (summed up by Tony Hirst): charging for PDC information, licensing and regulation.
These will all be vital elements in the future of journalism – news organisations and journalists should be vocal in shaping them.
The deadline for both consultations is October 27.
If who are excited about the prospect of open data, but frustrated by its execution (or just one of those people who complain that data doesn’t change anything), the government are inviting comments on what shape the Public Data Corporation should take.
It’s a refreshingly simple execution: a WordPress blog with each question as a separate blog post – presumably it cost a lot less than £300,000. But of course the questions are theirs, and they are:
1. Which public sector datasets do you currently make use of?
2. How easy is it to find out what datasets are held by public sector organisations?
3. How do you, or would you, decide whether a dataset has value for you or for your organisation? What affects how valuable they are, for example timeliness, granularity, format?
4. Which datasets are of most value to you or your organisation? Why?
5. What methods of access to datasets would most benefit you or your organisation?
6. What gets in the way of you or your organisation accessing datasets or data products?
7. What are the most exciting applications of datasets or data products you are aware of – here or internationally? We are, again, particularly interested in the following areas: registration activities, environmental science, critical infrastructure and the built environment.
8. Are there any datasets or products you’d like to see generated? How would you or your organisation use them, and what social or economic benefits do you think they would deliver?
9. From your perspective, what would success look like for the Public Data Corporation?
10. Have we got the name for this organisation right? Do you have any suggestions on naming that might better convey our aims?
It’s a shame that there isn’t any space for more open discussion – and that so many of the questions resemble market research. But still, the more journalists who pile in – the more justifiably we can moan later. So go ahead.
Post your responses here.
Last month I blogged about the consultation currently taking place on the law of defamation and the multiple publication rule. The deadline for that is today. Below I’ve published my own responses. If you feel I’ve got something wrong or missed something, please let me know.
Question 1. Taking into account the arguments set out [in the document], do you consider in principle that the multiple publication rule should be retained? If not, should a single publication rule be introduced? Please give reasons for your answers.
Comments: Based on the arguments set out, I do not believe that the multiple publication rule should be retained. The primary reason for this is that the burden of proof in these cases rests on the publishers, in situations where any records may well have disappeared. This is particularly problematic when employment within publishing is increasingly unpredictable, and employees – along with their records – are either frequently leaving or being made redundant from positions, or working for the organisation on a freelance basis. A single publication rule should be introduced. Continue reading →
Forget about turning your Twitter avatar green or adding a Twibbon, here’s something you can do today which can make a genuine difference to both professional journalists and bloggers: write to the Ministry of Justice as part of their consultation on defamation which has just a few weeks left:
“This consultation seeks views on the ‘multiple publication rule’ under which [people can be sued for every time a web article has been accessed], and its effects in relation to online archives. The paper considers the arguments for and against the rule and the alternatives of a single publication rule.”
This consultation couldn’t have been published in a more user-unfriendly way. The consultation page consists mainly of a link to a PDF and a Word document (which was clearly written for an online form that was never created, even down to HTML coding).
There is no clear address to send your responses to. You’ll find it on the 4th line of the Word document. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t worry, I’ll repeat that again at the end of the post.
UPDATE: RightToReply.org have published the consultation in their trademark easy-to-respond form here.
Here’s what they’re asking (also here, here, here, here, here and here), reproduced in a rather easier-to-navigate format and rephrased for slightly easier reading: Continue reading →