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Understanding Open Data, Understanding Our Potentials

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, in front of participants of Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit 2013 in London has called on world leaders to back talk on transparency and accountability with action – by ensuring that important data which may be politically sensitive is not excluded from open data initiatives. According to Berners-Lee, this is essential to ensure that Open Government Data programs deliver their potential, which includes fighting poverty, accelerating industry and innovation, and reducing corruption.

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Indonesia, currently chairman of OGP, is one of many countries that share commitment of implementing open data. The commitment is accompanied with strong desire to involve CSOs in formulation and implementation of open data in various levels.
To realize the commitment, however, we observe many things to do. One of them is to make Open Data issue familiar in Indonesia, particularly in CSOs and government, both at national and local levels. Why? Although discussion on Open Data issue is everywhere, yet Open Data is often partially understood. For example, Open Data is only understood as a mean for broadening transparency by publishing documents in web, or is understood as digitalization of documents.
The Open Data idea itself, according to Open Data Research Network , is actually related to: community monitoring on State or addressing information asymmetric phenomenon, building democracy of consumers (in which Open Data allows consumers to find better choice of public services), and building collaboration among civil society groups and collaboration between civil society and government. Thus, it can be said that Open Data is an effort of making transparency utilizable for society.
Indonesia does not yet aware of some of important potentials of Open Data, such as opening collaboration room among society or between society and government. Broadened choices for consumer democratization as stated above, are not yet addressed properly either. Consequently, Open Data works are still exclusively at monitoring works only.
This newsletter seeks to give contribution to readers on knowing important issues of Open Data. This newsletter seeks to make complexity of Open Data that is embedded from its birth, since Open Data is combination of two different disciplines, namely governance and information and communication technology, easily understood. We hope this effort may encourage you to bring innovations that encourage government accountability, collaboration, and broadening of choices for citizens.

Written by: Ilham Cendekia Srimarga (ICS)
External link: www.opendataresearch.org

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