Information is knowledge


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Information is knowledge

  1. 1. From 11 June 09:00 (GMT) until 24 June 2014 ! Wikiprogress and partners invite you to join this discussion on the role of open data, communication and technology in making data more accessible for society at large. Context The purpose of this online discussion is to take a broad look at the opportunities and challenges of using open data, visualisation, and other technology-based approaches to making data more accessible for society. We would like to hear from people who are dealing with these issues in their work and research, and also from people who are new to the topic but would like to participate in the debate to learn more. Information is knowledge, and knowledge is power. In order to empower citizens and ensure they have the information they need, we need to find innovative ways to make data more accessible for society at large. “Accessibility” can mean different things in this context. Open Data First, it can mean making data more freely available for people to download, use, and share with others. This is the principle behind the Open Data movement, which encourages governments and other organisations to make all kinds of data that are relevant to people’s lives completely transparent and available to all. Engaged citizens can use open data to make better-informed decisions, to hold governments and other institutions accountable for their actions, and to contribute to finding solutions to social problems. For many, open data is also the key to the “data revolution” needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Communication Not everyone has the time or the ability to make the most out of raw data though. A second way of making data more accessible is through effective communication. Data producers, or “intermediaries” such as bloggers, data journalists, campaigners, and other communicators, can make the underlying meaning of data more easily understandable through the use of effective storytelling. Effective data visualisation, in particular, can be an immensely powerful way of conveying the sense of complex analysis in clear and simple terms for a broad, non-expert audience.
  2. 2. Interactive Technology Finally, accessibility can also refer to ease of participation. Interactive technologies such as mobile apps and crowdsourcing platforms, can enable all members of society to contribute as data producers, not just data consumers. Citizen-generated data is a relatively new field, but one with a large potential to collect information that is directly relevant to people’s well-being, in a low-cost and timely manner. Innovative projects such as Mappiness, OpenStreetMap, HarrasMap, and Moodometer demonstrate the wide range of uses of crowdsourced dataments for this thread are now closed.  60 Comments  WP - Making data more accessible  Login   Sort by Newest  Favorite  Share sgulbahar Mod • 4 days ago Dear all, thank you for your participation in this discussion and for taking the time to share and exchange your knowledge and ideas. We'll be using the contributions from this discussion to inform the design of a number of activities this year, including a workshop and a report on engaging citizen in web 2.0 technology and data that we will submit to the European Commission and share with you later this year. Wikiprogress Team Amy Taylor - CIVICUS • 4 days ago Open data is the cornerstone of the Big Development DataShift - an ambitious, multistakeholder initiative to leverage the potential of new technologies for more creative and effective social accountability. The DataShift brings citizen voice to the heart of sustainable development by building a community of people and resources prepared to harness the data revolution. It is a movement and a tool to monitor and shape progress on the new global development agenda by Promoting People-Powered Accountability. Find out more at Donatella Fazio - Web-COSI • 4 days ago Open data is a crucial element for democracy. Thanks to the opportunities given by Internet citizens are pushing governments and administrations to transparency on their behavior and on the use of common resources. The citizens wants to be proactively involved in monitoring the activities carried out by policy administrators. The Web 2.0 tools and platforms can surely be a crucial instrument to narrow the gap between citizens and policy makers. In Italy best practices of interactive platforms can be found mainly at local level (see even if efforts are being carried out also at national level. On the side of the data producers, the National Statistical Offices (European and abroad) have radically improved the way of disseminating the data using Internet opportunities. The portals of the Statistical Offices give the possibility to visualize the data, construct tables using the
  3. 3. different territorial levels for the chosen variables, visualizing the data on maps,.... In the lastperiod, the National Statistical Offices are working to collect the liquid data available on line with the awareness that unofficial sources can respond to the growing needs for statistical information. Great efforts are being carried out on the side of the Big Data (see http://www.cros- ). The question is how they can be used for statistical production: integrate the data obtainedby surveys or to complement them. Many issues on the quality and validation on the usage of Big Data arise. For the National Statistical Offices , new sources of data can be the crowd sourced platforms where citizens "produce" non-official data. Citizen-generated data is a very new field for Statistical Offices, but one with a large potential to collect information that is directly relevant to people’s well-being. Crowd sourced data can give data at real time. Crowd sourced data cannot respond to the classical statistical framework of quality. They should however be used clearly labelled to be distinguished from the official data. As the Web 2.0 era is now and the power of onlinecommunities grows ever stronger institutions of diverse type and scope cannot ignoretheir centrality for the “definition” of better statistics for better policiesfor a better quality of life. see more Kate Scrivens Mod Donatella Fazio - Web-COSI • 4 days ago Dear Donatella, thanks for this contribution with some interesting examples and giving the perspective of the national statistical offices. I agree that there is a huge potential for NSOs to use online communities to crowdsource data, while recognising the need to ensure quality. Are you aware of any examples of best practice in data visualisation among National Statistical Offices? Caroline Giraud, GFMD • 4 days ago Dear all, our comment to question number one : Democratising data: the need to make statistics more accessible to everyone Access to information and data is usually not enough to ensure true democratisation. A true democratisation requires 1) access to data and public data. That needs to be done via good A2I laws AND correct practical implementation, i.e. no fee to pay to get the data for institutions, minimal delays to access the data. 2) It also requires the right platforms and intermediaries to translate data into digestible and relevant information - those are classically media, if possible using data journalism (methodology used by groups of coders + journalists), who scrape the data and make an actual story of public interest out of it.
  4. 4. This is reflected in the proposed language we shared with the Open Working Group, with an alliance of 200 organisations, for the draft zero of SDGs. The document is here: . • sgulbahar Mod Caroline Giraud, GFMD • 4 days ago Dear Caroline, Thank you for sharing the "Freedom of Expression and Access to Information Post-2015: Targets.." document, that I encourage others to look at. Greater access to data and public and more data journalism has been been consistently mentioned in this discussion with good reason. Salema o Barry Crisp • 4 days ago Open Data can definitely play a role in increasing citizens' engagement with well-being and progress statistics. People love open source channels such as wikipedia because not only is information readily available and free by way of a simple keyword search, but those engaged can also add to it (with referencing of course). This is the best way to allow the medium for engagement, as well as empower people to contribute because often or not the global populace don't know where to access government/research data and are very much wary of the data, as most are not part of the process in collecting that data. How we present data is vitally important. The majority of people won't remember statistics layered upon statistics, not unless it is needed for reporting or an essay of some sort. People connect with visuals and emotions. Data needs to be presented in a multimedia setting (use of creative graphs, photography, graphic design, film and much more). Above all, keep the message and statistics simple. sgulbahar Mod Barry Crisp • 4 days ago Thanks Barry, Indeed communication is essential. Would i-genius have examples of initiatives that has have been very effective in communicating data and statistics and/ or in using technology to engage people with information? Salema
  5. 5. Oboh Eromonsele Samuel • 5 days ago Hello Everyone, my name is Oboh Eromonsele, currently a freelance technologist and also an open data enthusiast. I have learnt a lot reading comments on the leading questions above. I will like to use this medium to talk a bit about open data landscape in Nigeria. I recently wrote a white paper to raise awareness about the potential benefits of Nigeria's proposed open data initiative -Click link to download: In addition, the paper targets the NGOs, CSOs, Academics, Private bodies, Govt agencies, technologist etc. With a view of getting all these players to understand the concept of open data as well as what benefits they can harness from it. Furthermore, the Edo State government of Nigeria recently launched the first sub national open data portal in Africa -Click link to view: From my little research, I think we need more discussions on how open data can be fully harnessed in Nigeria and also create avenues to bridge skill gaps through workshops, trainings of interested citizens to harness data for social good of the society. thank you and ignore typos o sgulbahar Mod Oboh Eromonsele Samuel • 5 days ago Oboh Eromonsele, its a pleasure to have you join the discussion. Your paper provides a useful introduction to the Nigerian Open Data scene. How do you think Nigerian citizens can better engage with and understand data that is important for them in making decision? @Amparo below provided an example from Kenya. As a technologist and considering the extensive use of mobile technology in Nigeria - is this an area that needs to be more exploited? Thanks Salema Oboh Eromonsele Samuel sgulbahar • 5 days ago Hello Salema, thank you for response.
  6. 6. In my response to your first question, We need avenues at local, state and federal levels where citizens can fundamentally demand for their choice datasets from the government. Once data is available, I think the use of infographics will help to visualise data so citizens across any literary sphere can make decisions with them. Also considering the low percentage of Nigerians online, the use of radio media, bill boards and offline data agents to pass on information directly to those that can't query an online database system. Budgit, a creative start-up in Nigeria has helped analyse our nations budget data in easy to understand infographics -Click Site link here: . We also have Followthemoney a project by Coded Development which helps track government spending -Click link for details: However, we need more of these platforms to allow for citizen engagement with decision makers in the government. Finally, In 2013 Nigeria recorded over 121 million mobile phone active subscribers. This figure states very clearly the importance of mobile technology in making data more accessible to the society and also a platform for crowdsourcing data directly from the society. So therefore, this area needs to be more exploited. Thank you and ignore typos Duccio Zola • 5 days ago Hello everybody! My name is Duccio Zola, and I’m a researcher at Lunaria, an Italian Association for Social Promotion involved in the Web-COSI European project. I would like to share some “theoretical” insight in relation to the first leading question of this interesting and fruitful online discussion (“What role can Open Data play to increase citizen’s engagement with well-being and progress statistics?”). First of all, we should keep in mind that “well-being” is a prismatic term and a sort of “catch-all concept”. In my opinion it is useful to maintain and not to curtail this complexity – indeed this heuristic richness – in order to tackle the wide range of possibilities opened up by Open Data in the field of producing, collecting, visualizing, and disseminating statistical information on well- being and societal progress: from individual lifestyle to the quality of life of a given population in a given geographical area, from environmental sustainability up to institutional transparency and citizens participation…
  7. 7. Second, we are now aware of the “structural” limitations of official statistics in covering with adequate and fit-for-purpose statistical information relevant dimensions and aspects which determine or have a direct impact on well-being, the quality of life of citizens or the quality of development of a country or a region. In my opinion, the point that needs to be stressed here is that today, in a condition of deep economic crisis which adds to a growing social complexity and ecological interdependence, the role of both citizens and CSOs boosted by the availability of Open Data in monitoring and collecting statistical information on the various dimensions of well-being becomes more and more central. At the same time, this role is more and more considered and recognized as a valuable lever for integration of official statistical information produced by public institutions at the local, national or supranational level. On the political front, moreover, the current debate on well-being is fueled by the fact that the issue of its assessment and measurement, as well as a mere statistical exercise, has a very strong political significance. In this light, the selection of statistics and indicators influences the evaluation of policies to be implemented: what is measured is at the basis of what one does…and, in its turn, what is measured relies upon the supply, transparency, accessibility of data. Last but not least, Open Data, in particular when coupled with the use of new technologies (web 2.0 interactive technology, e.g. crowdsourcing platforms, mobile apps…), are a pillar of social innovation and an essential tool for both raising public awareness and encouraging the direct involvement and activation of citizens in the collection, dissemination and re-use of data and statistical information on the issues and different aspects related to well-being. Thus, in conclusion, the new “Open Data paradigm” represents a major turning point for what could be called a double and convergent movement of “democratizing statistics” and “informing democracy”. see more Kate Scrivens Mod Duccio Zola • 5 days ago Dear Duccio, many thanks for this very interesting comment! Lunaria just organised a very interesting webinar on Engaging Citizens in statistics for the Web-COSI project last week, and there were some interesting examples of the use of open data and crowdsourcing data for social well-being initiatives. Would you be able to share with us the websites of any of the projects you think could be relevant here that were mentioned in the seminar? They could be of great interest to other participants int his discussion.
  8. 8. Duccio Zola Kate Scrivens • 5 days ago Hi Kate! Yes, last Friday Lunaria has promoted a webinar in the framework of the Web-COSI two-years activities’ program. The webinar, entitled “Civil society engagement in well-being statistics: good practices from Italy”, aimed primarily at encouraging the exchange and dissemination of good practices carried out by some CSOs in the field of the production of statistical information on well-being and societal progress – be it through the collection, aggregation and analysis of data, or the realization of specific synthetic indexes. We are planning to upload in the next few days the video registration of the webinar on the Web-COSI website (, and to open up as well a section for viewers’ comments and questions. So…everybody is welcome to join the event! This is the list of CSOs (and their good practices) which have taken the floor during the webinar: - World Wildlife Fund - Italy: “The Ecological Footprint Initiative”; - Monithon: “The Civic Online Monitoring of Italian Public Policies”; - Legambiente: “The Urban Ecosystem Report”; - Open Budget Initiative: “The Open Budget Index”. In presenting their good practices, the speakers have tackled major issues. Among them: the vision of well-being which lays behind their experiences, the kind of “non-official” statistical information provided, the role of new technologies, the relationship with the political and institutional world. In particular, for what concerns your question, the Open Data topic is at the center of the work of at least two of the invited CSOs: Monithon ( and Open Budget Initiative ( I would add also OpenPolis ( and Spaghetti Open Data ( unfortunately they could not participate to the webinar, but their work in Italy with Open Data is definitely great. see more
  9. 9. Melinda George Mod • 5 days ago A result of an open data society is that data will inevitably become more freely available for young people to download, use, and share. This means that we need to train children and youth to become more data savvy, so they can interpret the increasing amounts of raw data and visualisations. Big Idea's workshop in Tanzania (mentioned earlier in the discussion) is a great example of the kind of training we need! Also, there should be more young people telling the data stories. The European Youth Press (EYP) has begun training young journalists to use more data in their work. In 2013, EYP launched the “FlagIt!” project which trained 48 young journalists from 4 continents on how to use digital visualisation tools in open source platforms. This September, EYP will be hosting a conference for young European journalists (18 to 26 years old) on data-driven journalism. Do you know of other initiatives that include child and youth in the data revolution? (To see the full blog post on this topic, click here: Chris Yiu Melinda George • 5 days ago Hi Melinda, I think you're spot on about helping children and young people to be more data savvy. One initiative that I like is Young Scot who teamed up with Skyscanner to give away 500 Raspberry Pi computers, to help more young people learn programming. As well as encouraging better programming skills we also need to do more on statistics more generally. The Royal Statistical Society is doing some great work on this:  sgulbahar Mod Melinda George • 5 days ago
  10. 10. Thanks Melinda. Do you think future generations will be better equipped - will their education enable them to better understand and use data to make important decision about their well-being? Do you think that we should be making a far greater effort to train young people to utilise data or should the emphasis be ensuring we tell stories and visualise data in a way that makes it easier for young people to understand. Salema Melinda George Mod sgulbahar • 5 days ago Hi Salema, I can only hope that future generations will be better equipped, and that's what we're working towards here. However, they won't be better equipped if we don't provide them with tools and training. Initially, this will most likely happen outside of the classroom. The importance of training teachers should not be overlooked either. Using more data-based arguments and visualizations in the classroom would increase students' familiarity. Your second question is difficult, because I think they're both important parts of the process. For example, we all learn to read and write, while only a few of us become journalists. The same goes for data. There will be an increase in storytellers if more young people are trained to analyse data. If I had to choose, I would say training young people to utilize data is more important. Otherwise, they passively receive the information without being able to scrutinize it themselves. Although, for more immediate results, perhaps we should currently focus on telling stories and creating visualizations. Joseph Hancock Melinda George • 5 days ago I'm sorry to be coming to this discussion so late. This is such an interesting and important topic. It's great to see such a wide range of comments and contributors! In reply to Salema's second question. I feel that the two options aren't mutually exclusive. In my experience, understanding inspires scrutiny and ignites analysis. So hopefully we can do both, first we
  11. 11. explain/inspire, then they explore and interrogate. By highlighting patterns and revealing hidden connections, data visualization encourages us to demand answers to questions that we otherwise wouldn't have known to ask. I work in the International Coordinating Centre for the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study. We are currently exploring how we can make our data, and the stories hidden within, as available and as engaging as possible. Data visualizations are a big part of this and the future certainly looks like an exciting place. Emma Samman • 5 days ago Big Data must increase and not reduce the power of citizens. We want to see Big Data amplify the voice and knowledge of the emitters of data, not just improve the insights and means of surveillance of corporations and governments. This will require a better informed, more empowered, global citizenry, and a deeper understanding of the appropriate balance between individual, social, governmental, and commercial interests—with the overarching ethical dimensions and implications. This is why we created the Data-Pop Alliance: to spur a ‘humanistic’, people-centered, Big Data revolution, cautiously, humbly but resolutely, by providing an enabling environment for learning, information sharing, experimentation, evaluation and capacity building; to catalyze and coordinate developments and innovations in the use of Big Data to help serve the cause of human progress. We believe that structural impact will only come about through a range of connected activities, rather than through a single big initiative or a myriad of disjointed projects. We believe decision should be taken with an eye on the main prize: a future where Big Data improves lives and reduces inequalities, rather than one characterized by a new and widening digital divide. Read the full blog here Kate Scrivens Mod Emma Samman • 5 days ago
  12. 12. Thanks Emma - the work of the Data Pop Alliance looks really interesting, and you're exactly right that the data revolution needs to be people-centred. I understand that Data-Pop is still quite new, but have you already found any interesting examples of 'humanistic' big data use that you could share with us?   • katebailey1602 • 8 days ago The most important thing seems to be practice! So engagement with data regularly, discussing it with colleagues regularly and having a healthy, questioning attitude towards data. By that I mean not taking the data as the only truth, but triangulating with other bits of evidence, look for other data that contextualises a score (for example, socio-economic status, ethnic background etc). But also I have today found some really interesting research about cognitive load and how important that can be for good understanding. So much processing capacity can be taken up by understanding pieces of the puzzle that the whole picture is missed. I could provide some references if anyone was interested. Finally, there is some interesting evidence from eye- tracking data which shows which pieces of a visual report people are attracted to first. This means you can plan a piece of reporting in a way that focuses the attention on the most relevant data. Hope that helps. katebailey1602 • 8 days ago Hi there. I work in a research group at Durham University in England. We produce assessments for schools to evaluate the progress that children are making. My PhD research is around how best to represent information in such a way as it promotes good decision making and, subsequently, promotes good outcomes for students. I have been reading some of the literature around cognitive load in the processing of data visualisations and although I have no firm conclusions yet, I am pretty sure that some of the examples of assessment reporting that come out of the UK must be largely incomprehensible to anyone but the most dedicated of mathematicians. I did an online survey of around 300 teachers last year which asked them about their confidence in interpreting assessment data and followed it up with a test of their knowledge (unfortunately with a different sample). There were some interesting findings and I am looking forward to getting more conclusive results. An overwhelming finding was that over 95% of teachers had had no training specific to the understanding of assessment data and that
  13. 13. was a bit of a shock. I am really interested in the train of discussion so far and it would be great to keep involved. sgulbahar Mod katebailey1602 • 8 days ago Hi Kate ( @katebailey1602 ), great to have you join the discussion. Just from your research and reading so far, what would you say have been or could be the most promising (effective) ways of engaging people like the teachers you mention with data that is essential for good decision making? Is it a questions of training or can we make data and statistics more accessible? Thanks Salema Tin Geber • 8 days ago Hello all, Thank you for this lively exchange of opinions and sharing of projects. My name is Tin; with the engine room ( we work to close gaps between advocacy and technology through research and networks. We are working with CIVICUS on the DataShift ( project concept and implementation: this project looks into citizen-generated data and its efficacy in monitoring the post-2015 development goals, as well as what needs to happen in order to bridge the gap between comparability and coverage to inform campaigning. Another project that is very close to the theme of this discussion is the Responsible Data Forum (, a series of collaborative events, co-organized by Aspiration and the engine room, and convened to develop useful tools and strategies for dealing with the ethical, security and privacy challenges facing data-driven advocacy. An important intersection to consider when speaking about the efficacy and impact of open data for the social good is the link between the data itself and how it's presented; strategies and means of consumption of that data. The process of opening data by public institutions is of course a laudable and important process. However, it is very important that the data is easily accessible by humans and computers alike, the former through curated stories and semantically tagged information, open formats (.csv) and fully downloadable information, the latter through APIS, machine-readable data structures and rich metadata. It is an unfortunate, yet regular phenomenon, when institutions publish data online that is really, really hard to get to: locked in PDF files, split between dozens or hundreds of strangely tagged web pages, complex and badly formatted .xls files etc.
  14. 14. sgulbahar Mod Tin Geber • 8 days ago Hi Tin, thanks for sharing and for the useful links. Would you have good examples of where data has been made more accessible via visualization and storytelling? In your experience, what would you say were the main challenges for the organisations that want to get citizens to engage with data (that affects their lives) using technology. Salema Tin Geber sgulbahar • 8 days ago Hi Salema, A very good resource for your first question is Visualizing Information for Advocacy, by the Tactical Tech Collective: https://visualisingadvocacy.or... For the second question, I think there is a preliminary consideration to make on whether organisations actually want to get citizens to engage, or if the open data portal "du jour" is simply a low-budget, good-enough, mandated response to external pressure. Most access problems stem from the latter. If organizations are truly keen on helping citizen interact with their data, the main challenge in my opinion would lie in the information architecture: cleaning, tagging, presenting in a way that is as usable as possible, and flagging those cases in which usability is still out of reach. The two aspects of that challenge are 1) creating a solid, scalable standard for future data publications, and 2) adapting already existing data to follow the common standard. Gérard Chenais • 9 days ago The following is not about opening primary, unit level data (school, hospital, enterprise, farms, plots, village, etc) but about Statistics explained a good practice in electronic publications by Eurostat "presenting statistical data on a specific topic in an easily understandable way" to general public.
  15. 15. See a paper presented by Eurostat during an UNECE Work Session on the Communication of Statistics 18 - 20 June 2014 I believe that using Wikipedia type wiki software and structure (as Wikiprogress does) is great, although that for Statistics explained only Eurostat staff is authorised to make change or create pages, which is understandable in the context. There is a cumulative dynamic there that quite a number of organisations officially dealing with statistics or quantitative data could consider for the dissemination of their own data and related knowledge. See also the recent move to introduce flexible dashboards with the objective of increasing the user-friendliness of data exploration. To me, a major policy was to introduce a glossary that aims at helping users unfamiliar with exact definition of terms by hyper-linking those terms when used in an article. Another was to convert the traditional printed Statistics yearbooks into a component of a wider encyclopaedia of European statistics (different from statistics of European countries). The knowledge is as important as the aggregated data, even more. The same approach sounds valid to inform on existing data opened deposits, related meta and para data, and on interpretation and/or use of the data. A question might be could this be as freely opened as Wikipedia? Amparo • 10 days ago Great initiative! Open data can truly change lives and this is shown in many developing countries that have started an open data intiative. Making data accessible to citizens is just one angle. What is most important for poor countries is the improvement of public services that happen because data is open (allowing citizens to compare schools performance, allowing farmers to know when to plant, allowing patients to comapre hospitals' mortality rates, and tons of other applications). Also important are the new jobs made available because there are new business created that would not be vaible without open data. In countries where open data is more mature, many entrepeneurs are using it to create services that citizens demand and jobs to run them (such as real state services provided by Zillow in the US, transport logistics companies in the UK and others). These are only starting in developing countries, partly because the number of data sets made openly available is still small. But new, imaginative services are being started, such as iCow for Kenyan farmers. If open data is "the oil of the new economy" then let's talk about the things that are fueled by this oil.
  16. 16. Stefanos Vrochidis • 11 days ago The Open Data could contribute to world monitoring. World monitoring includes several challenges and problems such as news and media monitoring (including social media), environmental monitoring, crowd behaviour, epidemics etc. Although the aforementioned problems lay in different areas (e.g. media, environment, security, health etc.), there are specific ICT technologies that could contribute. Specifically all these problems require semantic integration of heterogeneous and distributed large-scale data. The multimodality of the content calls for the need of techniques to extract semantic information from multimedia (audiovisual) resources. It is also very important to apply techniques for validation and reputation of the "sensors" that provide these data since some of them might be considered unreliable due to several reasons (e.g. a station very far from the area of interest, a rumor blog etc.). Emphasis should be given to topic detection based on stream data (including multimedia), alerts and detection of complementary and contradictory data. Fusion of such data (depending on the problem) is also very challenging. Finally, the end user side requires a holistic view of the results. This calls for the development not only of visualisation techniques but also for reasoning and statistical recommendation for decision support. Summarisation of information is also of importance. sgulbahar Mod Stefanos Vrochidis • 11 days ago Dear Stefanos, would you have examples of ICT that contributes to such monitoring, especially where the end user has been able to get involved? Thank you, Salema Shenja van der Graaf • 11 days ago Currently, I am involved in several open data related projects, in a "smart city" context as well as within the field of opening up legal knowledge. In the city context, projects such as OpenTransportNet and, particularly, Citadel..on the Move try to help city govs to make their open data more accessible by providing toolkits that developers but also less tech skilled citizens can use to develop apps for their mobile phone, such as using tourist or parking data. It is
  17. 17. important that while many different stakeholders across several cities/countries find open data important, in particular citizen engagement in this context is still not far behind. Also, the OpenLaws project works towards making legal data open and accessible across the EU, so anyone can easily see and use the info they need at hand (incl using apps). Within the CAPs context, IA4SI, is developing an impact assessment methodology for social innovation projects. Here, the focus is more on the process of 'opening up' and 'engagement' and 'impacts' but it's a very interesting idea to also consider impacts here of (linked) open data. sgulbahar Mod Shenja van der Graaf • 11 days ago Dear Shenja, thank you for sharing. Could you explain to us if projects like 'OpenTransportNet' and 'Citadel' will increase citizens understanding and use of open data, and if it will, then how so? Salema  Gérard Chenais • 12 days ago I am somehow sceptical, probably because I am an old fashion retired official statistician. I am not afraid by IT : I was a scientific programmer at University in the 60s (using punched cards on big mainframes), late 70s I was instrumental at introducing the first mini-computer in Vanuatu to process statistics, mid 80s I introduced micro-computer in an African country NSO, I promoted GIS for statistical work, Wikis, NSDSs, quality for statistics, etc nothing exceptional, just doing my job of producing better statistics for public good. I also used manual calculators, turning an handle whole day to crunch data and recording results on paper with a pencil. No doubt in my mind that data can be useful and opening up available data deposits is the way to go; but not only for the sake of opening and using advance technology. I noticed that some promoting the principle of open data are doing it for their own good, otherwise they would not spend their money just for public good, the promotion is sometimes ambiguous. Another point is that very often there is a confusion made between primary data, constructed data, statistics and official statistics. Official statistics, a special kind of data produced as a public good, have always been open, despite difficulties in disseminating them as widely as expected : resources is a factor, producing more or disseminating to more; internet is a fantastic instrument to improve dissemination and not enough support has been provided during the last
  18. 18. few years (have a look at some NSOs web sites in developing countries) while a lot has been spend to run statistical surveys whose results where always accessible first to sponsors. Non statistical data that can be made openly available have been gathered for specific purposes based on a conceptualisation optimal for these purposes; analysing the data brings first the concepts that were used and often not much more. These data are only second-hand stuff and have been used intensively for what they can provide and in the public interest ; but they can still inform some residual purposes. The tricky bit here is that, if one is not familiar with the data set, only accessing it can demonstrate whether it is highly informative or not. Still, there is lots of data deposits that can be useful outside the original environment they have been created and managed; here the issue is that these deposits keep being valuable as long as the original purposes for maintaining is relevant and, in many cases, this is done using public money. Another point that is somehow overlooked is that most of the data deposits are created and managed by government departments under regulations that civil servants have to abide by. In a democratic society, a regulation that can be demonstrated as detrimental to public interest, can be changed but using the proper procedures; useless to blame civil servants. Finally, there are different channels to convey knowledge to citizens, media are the main and if I am sceptical about the whole idea of bringing data directly to them is because I don't think that accessing data only is what each citizen needs; interpreting a specific dataset requires a lot of time and also to have access to meta and para data rarely readily available; a job mainly for intermediaries. Interesting to remember that many have already said that it is not enough to publish statistical data in tables but data have to be transformed and convey as knowledge; visualization is important for that and there are many good and as well as bad practices in presenting facts as a coloured picture. see more Kate Scrivens Mod Gérard Chenais • 12 days ago Dear Gérard, thank you for this thoughtful and detailed contribution. You're right to point out that there's a difference between official and non-official statistics, and between statistics and the source data. Official statistics, thanks to the efforts put in to ensure their quality and comparability, represent the 'gold standard'. However, as you rightly point out, resources are limited and official statistics cannot always provide the coverage and timeliness to meet all needs. There is also often a reluctance on the part of official statisticians to fulfill the 'story-telling' role necessary to provide meaning for non-specialists. Given these limitations, Open Data and new technologies can provide an opportunity for informed and responsible citizens and organisation to fill the gaps where needed as data providers and interpreters. When you talk about 'intermediaries'
  19. 19. here, are you mainly referring to the mainstream media or do you have other types of data intermediary in mind?  Gérard Chenais Kate Scrivens • 11 days ago Dear Kate, regarding intermediaries mainstream media are natural ones, but I am not clear about others. The main condition I believe is a trustfully and regular relation with citizens, preferably with most of them, a zest of empathy is needed too. I don't know a better summary on results based management principle than the one ISO has adopted for its Quality management principles (, the first two sentences concern producers of data, the last two the users: - Ensuring that data and information are sufficiently accurate and reliable - Making data accessible to those who need it - Analysing data and information using valid methods - Making decisions and taking action based on factual analysis, balanced with experience and intuition. Up to factual analysis, issues are of a technical nature and quality is an overall objective; IT provides the obvious facilitating tools. Thereafter, introducing experience and intuition in 'story-telling' for a large audience is not straightforward! and might need a bit of a revolution in the mindset to prevent conflicts of interest as much as possible. Ethical issue also comes in and for that purpose see the ISI Declaration on professional ethics that producers of data and intermediaries, and other data scientists could refer to.
  20. 20.  PARIS21 • 12 days ago Hello, it’s Trevor Fletcher from PARIS21 here. We are currently working on a project “Informing a Data Revolution” which has a goal to produce a Road Map document in 2015 to outline how we can get the right data, to the right people, at the right time and in the right format. Part of this Road Map will be to list innovations and new solutions that will help fill the current gaps between supply and demand of data – these will cover new technologies for data collection such as use of mobile phones and hand-held devices, using alternative sources of data (aka “Big Data”), using satellite images, Open Data initiatives, public-private partnerships, data visualisations and any other exciting new ideas that could contribute to improving the flow and
  21. 21. understanding of data in the future. I’ve already seen some interesting and relevant ideas here in this discussion (such as the restless development Big Idea project) and look forward to seeing more during this interesting debate. See more about the project here: o Kate Scrivens Mod PARIS21 • 12 days ago Hi Trevor, this is great news. We're really interested in the use of new technology (such as mobile phones) for data collection - it seems like an area with huge potential, but also a very new area. have you come across any interesting examples of crowd sourcing data through new technologies yet? PARIS21 Kate Scrivens • 11 days ago Hi Kate, yes indeed there are an enormous number of data collection initiatives using mobile phone underway - see the work of Geopoll ( ) for example, or the Frontline SMS Radio Project ( ) - both very interesting examples ! Kate Scrivens Mod PARIS21 • 11 days ago brilliant thanks for this! Fia BigIdea@Restless • 12 days ago Hello everyone! I am currently working on a new project at Restless Development called the Big Idea. With half of the world‘s population under 25, some of the world most pressing issues directly relating to
  22. 22. young people and the potential young people have to address those issues, as well as providing creativity, new ideas and techy savvy minds, I think it’s important that they are integral part of the Open Data movement. With the Big Idea we want to test a new model: equip young people with the knowledge, skills and platforms to effectively interpret and use data to take action and hold their governments accountable for the issues most important to them. We will implement the Big Idea in Ghana, Tanzania and Nepal and we are currently working on the project design and looking into some very similar questions to the ones mentioned above so I look forward to follow the discussion! You can find more information on The Big idea at sgulbahar Mod Fia BigIdea@Restless • 12 days ago Dear Fia BigIdea@Restless , the aims of the "Big Idea" sound very relevant and exciting for us. Could you share with us a little more about how you will be approaching your goal, the challenges you envisages and the partners or support you may require? Thanks Salema Fia BigIdea@Restless sgulbahar • 12 days ago Hi Salema, Thanks for your interest. In terms of how we will be approaching our goal: We run a Joint Consultation Workshop in Tanzania and a series of round tables with partners and stakeholders from the three pilot countries (Young people, Media, Government, Civil Society and Open data representatives), to map thematic priorities for young people and open data in each country context. The main issues identified where consistent across Ghana, Nepal and Tanzania: governance/participation by young people and employment/entrepreneurship. So during the implementation of the pilot projects young people will play a leading role accessing, generating and disseminating data to advocate and campaign for changes in livelihood policies. They will be trained to find, collate, collect, analyse and interrogate data, working with local data experts to test the
  23. 23. veracity of their findings. They will then develop innovative and engaging ways to present their data, and learning, to a range of audiences, most importantly other young people, their communities and decision makers, to drive change in policies. Challenges are many and of different nature (all positive!). To mention some challenges we are trying to address that are relevant to this discussion: · Assess what data is available and what data is needed · Ensure quality of data · Find creative ways to visualise data to make it relevant and interesting (including illiterate people and people on the other side of the digital divide) · What kind of technology can best support our project As mentioned above, we are already working with a number of partners at country level but we are always interested in expanding our network to include more partners. Among others at the moment we are looking into partners that can help us solve some of the challenges mentioned above. I hope this answer your questions. Please feel free to contact me at see more sgulbahar Mod Fia BigIdea@Restless • 12 days ago Dear Fia (Fia BigIdea@Restless ) , thank you for explanation. We would love to hear more about the project and stay up to date with your progress. I will be in touch via email. Also do feel free to address some of the above questions from your perspective, when you have a moment! Have you found data visualisation to be useful or are auditory forms of storytelling (via radio for example) far more effective? Salema Fia BigIdea@Restless sgulbahar • 11 days ago Hi Salema, As we haven’t started implementation and we are in the process of solving some of those challenges, unfortunately I can’t provide more detailed answers to your questions yet.
  24. 24. In terms of data visualisation I think our approach will be to let young people, with the support of local data experts, decide what’s the most appropriate form to present data depending on the context and the audience (I foresee data will be presented in different forms depending on whether the audience is other young people in their community or decision makers at national or regional levels for example). I think we will explore and use different online and offline channels to disseminate data and information. Radio is definitely likely to be one of them as it’s the most widespread media in rural areas. I hope this answer your question for the moment and I look forward to contribute with more details when we start implementation. Any other questions feel free to send them my way. Eugénie Cornuet • 16 days ago Comment peut-on jouer avec la visualisation, l’affichage et le discours autour de données afin d’améliorer leur compréhension ? C’est une question compliquée mais néanmoins cruciale. Offrir aux gens de nombreuses données à disposition, des graphiques, des statistiques, et des tas d’informations semble peu utile si seule une minorité est capable de les comprendre et de s’en servir. Permettre la diffusion de données qui demeurent peu lisibles donne une impression de transparence, de clarté quand en réalité ces données ne sont pas accessibles à tous de par leur complexité. Heureusement, des progrès ont été effectués ces dernières années et vont vers cet objectif deplus de clarté afin que ces données soient compréhensibles au plus grand nombre. Gapminder en est un parfait exemple. Le principe de cet outils est un accès graphique simplifié à une grande quantité de données statistiques, dans toutes leurs dimensions (temporelle, spatiale) et leur croisement à l’aide de graphique facilement compréhensibles. La grande interactivité de l’outil et sa souplesse sont ses points forts, permettant de facilement visualiser les grandes tendances ou au contraire situation originale dans un thème précis. Cette idée de rendre les données plus accessibles se retrouve égalementdans une initiative du Guardian. En effet , les auteurs du data store du Guardian (avec pour devise « Facts are Sacred : The power of data » = « les faits sont sacrés, le pouvoir des données ») considéré comme LA référence en la matière, dévoilent les logiciels et applications qu'ils utilisent. Notons que la majorité des outils du journal sont des logiciels open source. Les journalistes souhaitent ainsi promouvoir la pratique du Do It Yourself (Fais-le toi-même) impliquant des logiciels libres et des données accessibles au grand public.
  25. 25. Enfin je recommande vivement cet article du journal Les echos qui résume parfaitement les enjeux de la « visualisation de données » PS : Rejouissons nous, le Burkina devient le premier pays africain francophone à se doter d’un programme « open data » sgulbahar Mod Eugénie Cornuet • 16 days ago Dear Eugénie, thank you for the comment. Maybe we will hear the Gapminder or Guardian DataLab to get more of insight on their drivers and challenges. Salema Estelle Loiseau • 16 days ago Hi everyone! I would like to participate on the last question asked: "How else can technology or other innovative methods be used to make data more accessible to society at large?" I believe in the power of open platforms, crowd-sourcing and open data: learning though sharing and sharing to build a knowledge base for the benefit of all is extremely important, and is most efficient and valuable when involving various stakeholders from all walks of life and from different parts of the world. Unfortunately, an important source of this knowledge is lost because of illiteracy, which prevents many people (about 774 million people, including 123 million youth) to take part in today's technological and data revolutions. In this respect, mobile technology can be a key tool to help advance literacy and learning in some communities around the world. A recent UNESCO report lays out strategies to expand mobile reading and the educational, social and economic benefits associated with increased reading. Conducted in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe, the study finds that large numbers of people read stories to children from mobile phones; females read far more on mobile devices than males; both men and women read more cumulatively when they start reading on a mobile device; many neo- and semi-literate people use their mobile phones to search for text that is appropriate to their reading ability.
  26. 26. If mobile technology can help open the door to literacy to more people, then more people can take part in storytelling and engaging with well-being and progress statistics. See the article about the report here: Chris Yiu Estelle Loiseau • 15 days ago Hi Estelle! I think that's a really important point. In our work on digital inclusion people often talk about basic digital skills as a fourth pillar alongside reading, writing and numeracy. Anyone interested in this angle might like to see the recent report from the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a guest blog on our website Kate Scrivens Mod Estelle Loiseau • 16 days ago Thanks Estelle, you make a really great point about the 'digital divide' and the need to ensure that new technologies help to equalise power imbalances, not exacerbate them. Your example of using mobile technology to improve literacy levels is really interesting!