Original consultation documents

The ODI has created a short summary of the UK government’s data sharing consultation paper, released on Monday 29th of February, 2016, to help people digest its contents. It’s not an expression of the ODI’s views. We will be putting in our own response to the consultation. Get in touch at policy@theodi.org to find out more.


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The UK government wants to be able to share data between its different parts so that it can work better. This is particularly important because government is trying to significantly reduce costs over the next few years.

The proposals in government’s consultation will…

At the ODI, we work with external partners to shape, create and promote the social, environmental and economic benefits that open data can bring to different communities and sectors around the world.

To mark the end of an action-packed year in open data, we are reflecting on some of the exciting stories we have worked on in 2015 in a ‘year in open data’ series.

In the first blog in the series, Emma Thwaites recaps the ODI’s work highlighting how data infrastructure is vital to society: from starting a debate about who owns it to helping governments understand their roles in building it. …

Blockchains are a distributed append-only way of storing data. They are reliant on a large network for their maintenance, and can only grow in size. Jeni Tennison, the ODI’s Technical Director, looks at scenarios for how blockchains might evolve over time

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Blockchains might evolve over time

Blockchains are emerging from their origins in cryptocurrencies and being explored as a mechanism for storing data of other kinds. We are very early in our understanding of when and how it’s best to use blockchains as a technology. …

Data stored in blockchains cannot be changed, which means that personal data they contain cannot be removed. Jeni Tennison, the ODI’s Technical Director, explains why it’s really important that we design blockchains to protect people’s privacy

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Photo: Flickr — Moritz Wellner (CC-BY-2.0)

Blockchains are currently getting a lot of attention as a distributed way of storing data. But the irreversibility and transparency of blockchains mean they are probably unsuitable for personal data. We need to be careful when designing blockchains not to infringe on people’s privacy, and to account for a world in which we have doxing, identity theft and the right to be forgotten.

The examples in this post aren’t necessarily here because anyone has suggested providing these kinds of data in blockchains. But blockchains are being investigated for a range of purposes and we need to explore their limits. …

Open Data Institute trainer Ben Cave shares the wide benefits of the open approach taken with eLearning developer Sponge UK in collaborating on the newly launched European Data Portal

The launch of the EU’s European Data Portal (EDP) this week marks a significant commitment to improving open data innovation across Europe. EDP was launched by the European Commission (with the Connecting Europe Facility framework), to support the deployment of European open data infrastructures, from data publishing to re-use.

With over 240,000 open datasets from 32 countries and topics ranging from science to justice, EDP supports a new generation of products and services. …

Open data fuels economic growth. Many believe in the theory and ask for the proof. A new report by Nesta and the ODI adds to the evidence of the impact of open data. The report’s analysis, undertaken by PwC, examines the effects of the Open Data Challenge Series (ODCS) and predicts the programme will result in a potential 10x return (£10 for every £1 invested over three years), generating up to £10.8m for the UK economy.

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The Open Data Challenge Series Method

Economists use terms such as information asymmetry, allocative efficiency and network effects to explain why open data creates this return. …

How do we make sure data infrastructure is always available, and always trustworthy? Are blockchains the answer?

We believe that data infrastructure is fundamental to our future. What we normally mean by this is “data as infrastructure” — data is becoming part of the infrastructure of society. In ODI Labs, we have a slightly different take on the issue: if data is to be infrastructure for society, what does that mean about the technology underlying the “infrastructure for data”?

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Photo source: Flickr — r2hox (CC BY-SA 2.0)

If data is becoming essential to society, then it must be:

  • resilient — always available when needed, with access able to route around damage. It can’t drop offline because of a datacentre outage, or a forgotten domain renewal. …



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