The State of Open Data Has Arrived!

State of Open Data
May 27 · 3 min read

Today we are formally launching our new publication, The State of Open Data — Histories and Horizons. This 18-month ambitious project has culminated in almost 600 pages and a comprehensive review of the history of open data across different sectors, issues, and regions from a multitude of perspectives. Over 60 authors have written for the book with hundreds more individuals contributing from the open data community.

It’s our hope that by looking at the past, even if it’s only a decade, we can create an even brighter future. As we wrote in our book’s introduction:

“Ten years may seem like a short period of time, but, when technology is involved, it constitutes a generational age. Institutional memories are curiously short, and in the cultural context of open data where amateurs are often welcome and professional barriers to entry are low, it is easy for work to proceed with little awareness of the past. This last decade has seen many succeeding phases of activity, so we have encouraged our authors to take a comparatively long view (when set against other contemporary writing on open data) to document the past in order to lay stronger foundations for future research and action.”

To assist the readers with the historical lens, each chapter has also been made available on The State of Open Data website and is accompanied by a timeline reviewing critical dates over the past decade. Just pick a chapter and check out the “Timeline” tab.

We also designed both the book and the website to be tools to help guide the future work of practitioners, researchers, policy-makers, and funders who work with open data or data in general. Each chapter has a summary of the main observations together on a particular sector or issue with recommendations for future action, as well and recommended further readings to guide you on how to investigate more on the topic. Our final chapter contains recommendations tailored for several specific stakeholder groups which are based on all the chapters.

We wanted the State of Open Data project to serve as a catalyst for community discussion. There are hundreds of examples of innovative uses of data and we hope that these will spark new conversations, enhance collaboration, and inspire readers to bring forward new ideas, projects, and partnerships for future open data work. We also documented our research approach in terms of our efforts to make it inclusive, collaborative, and open. You can read more about it in this blog. In addition, you can find the crowdsourced environmental scans that preceded the chapters on the website under the “Read & Engage” tab. These were core to guiding authors on how to approach individual chapters.

Our ambition is that The State of Open Data is not a time-limited project. We want it to help facilitate more conversations and community action. Engage with us on Twitter, write blogs that reference or connect with the book, cite it in your work, or write to us. We believe that there is more than just reading needed to move us forward.

You can read chapters, download the whole book, or order a physical copy of the book via the State of Open Data website. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed editing it.

State of Open Data Editorial Team

Tim Davies Stephen B. Walker Mor Rubinstein Fernando Perini


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State of Open Data

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A review of the open data movement and its capacity to address social and economic challenges across sectors, regions, & communities.