In my previous post “Will Open Data Initiative End Poverty?“, I expressed my feeling that open data initiatives would have a significant impact on the international development through research inputs. Almost at the same, the Guardian posed an interesting question. How open is your government to get the data?
The question is “Does open data matter open government?” The Guardian seems to argue that open governments open more data to the public, referred to the press freedom index etc.
I partially agree. But what about capacity?
In the developing countries, is it true that open governments are able to publish more data to researchers or policy makers? At least, my experience tells that it is not always true.
Even if the governments were completely open to uncover data, they would not be able to do so without capacity. As commonly argued, the data collection and management require a greater degree of government capacity.
If you have experienced working at research institutes, you may understand how much of your time and capacity you need to invest in data collection and cleaning. That is even harder part than analysis sometimes.
In this regard, if the development community would like to promote open data, it needs to support to develop capacity of governments or local research institutes. That would be something that has to be discussed and solved before or at the same time of opening data.
photo credit: Libertic via photopin cc