Open Data Seminar

by Henry Farrell on July 17, 2012

For those who wanted a more print-friendly version of the open data seminar that we’ve been running, here’s a “PDF”: (bog-standard memoir class document I’m afraid – I don’t have John H.’s design skills). It’s available under a Creative Commons non-commercial license – those who want to do their own remixes may want the underlying LaTeX file, which is available “here”: Below, links to the various posts, in order of publication:

“Tom Slee”: draws connections between James Scott and the awkward relationship between open data and actual empowerment.

“Victoria Stodden”: suggests that people interested in the political aspects of open data should learn from the efforts of computational scientists to preserve the step-by-step process through which final results were produced.

“Steven Berlin Johnson”: argues that open data platforms can attract, empower and even create people interested in solving complex problems.

“Matthew Yglesias”: makes the case that open data is crucial to journalism, and that there is often a case for government to produce it.

“Clay Shirky”: argues that there are two different strands of open data advocacy, one devoted to improving services, the other to actually tackling corruption, and that the former works rather better than the latter.

“Aaron Swartz”: finds that open data and transparency don’t address _either_ structural problems of corruption, or help make life more efficient.

“Henry Farrell”: argues that open data will not change politics, but would have advantages under a different political configuration than the one we have.

“Beth Noveck”: sees open data as a foundation for complex democracy and a wellspring of innovation in government.

“Tom Lee”: worries that open data advocates tend towards a blithe over-optimism, but maintains that it still has democratic benefits.