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Summer of Open Data

Accelerating Data Collaboration

Jump Starting the Third Wave of Open Data

Posted on 14th of July 2020 by The Govlab

Accelerating Data Collaboration
Accelerating Data Collaboration

Despite the proliferation of data, its potential has yet to be realized in policy- and decision-making. Many of the most useful datasets remain inaccessible to those who need them to do public good despite the tremendous progress made by the open data movement.

Freedom of information laws adopted over the last half century have brought about a new kind of transparency, one in which national government data could be supplied on request to an audience (largely) composed of journalists, lawyers, and activists. This first wave of open data was followed by a second at the advent of the open source and web 2.0 era, one that called upon governments to make their data open by default for civic technologists, government agencies, and corporations. While this work enabled new, innovative projects, it left many data silos and asymmetries untouched. Data held by local governments and the private sector remains often hard to access and re-use. Open data has created significant global impact to date, but much more work still needs to be done.

The Summer of Open Data is a three-month project spearheaded by the Open Data Policy Lab (an initiative of The GovLab with support from Microsoft) in partnership with the Open Data Institute, the Open Data Charter, DataGovHub and BrightHive to jump start an exploration into the third wave of open data that addresses these gaps and is fueled by enhanced data collaboration.

Experts in local and regional governments, national statistical agencies, international bodies, and private companies will join us to advance our understanding of how to establish a vision of open data that is focused on collaboration, responsibility, and purpose. Specifically we will focus on the reuse of public and private data through data collaboratives deemed relevant for local communities, NGOs, academics, and other civic actors.

Our dialogues and panels will use the COVID-19 pandemic as a starting point to understand the best current practices on data reuse, to identify areas for improvement, and to develop a strategy on how to achieve these improvements. Among other top-of-mind issues, we will address key factors and barriers in data sharing to support workforce recovery and economic outcomes for individuals. Along the way, we will discuss different operational models of data collaboration, the governance mechanisms that promote ethical and responsible re-use and the data skills needed within national and sub-national government bodies, and where important collections of sub-national data might be held.

We will announce the schedule for the first set of panels as soon as we have finished pre-recording them. Anyone interested in partnering on the project or learning more can get in touch with us at opendatapo licylab [at] the

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The Open Data Policy Lab

An initiative of The GovLab with support from Microsoft, the Open Data Policy Lab seeks to accelerate the responsible re-use and opening of data for the benefit of society and the equitable spread of economic opportunity. As part of this mission, the Open Data Policy Lab supports decision-makers at local, state, and national levels, crafting a series of tools to help navigate and respond to the challenges posed by the third wave of open data. The GovLab, based at the Tandon School of Engineering at New York University, aims to promote openness, collaboration, and legitimacy in governance through the use of data.

Digital Trade & Data Governance Hub

The Digital Trade & Data Governance Hub, based at the Elliott School for International Affairs at George Washington University, trains policymakers and the public in how data is changing the economy and the polity, focusing on data driven services, digital trade and domestic data governance.

The Open Data Institute

The ODI works with companies and governments around the world to build an open, trustworthy data ecosystem. They strive to bring about sustainable behaviour change within companies and governments that hold and use data, and advocate for and support practices that increase trust and trustworthiness.

The Open Data Charter

A collaboration between over 100 governments and organizations, the Open Data Charter (ODC) advances policy and practice to open data along a shared set of principles. Supporting governments to enable the efficacy and accountability, the ODC strives to address today’s social, economic, and environmental challenges through the ethical collection, sharing, and use of open government data while protecting the rights of individuals and communities.


BrightHive helps organizations, networks and communities securely and responsibly link their data to enhance their impact, empower individual and collective decision making, and increase equity of opportunity. BrightHive Data Trusts provide the legal, technical and governance framework that empowers networks of organizations to securely connect their data sources and create new, shared data resources

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