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How Open Source Data is Good for Governments

Photo by Aditya Joshi on Unsplash

Data experts and executives have historically been the only ones with unlimited and unrestricted access to data. In contrast, exposure, availability, and access to these sources have been frequently delayed, unsteady, or outright inaccessible for everyone else. This has ignored the fact that open source data is good for governments.

This article introduces open source data, why it makes sense in the government, and how your city or state can start using it today.

What is Open Source Data?

Open source data or open source database means the data that is made available and accessible for everyone to download, reuse, distribute, or modify without restrictions. In government, open source data refers to a collection of regulations that, by opening up access to government data to the public, encourage value creation, openness, and accountability.

Open source software has seen remarkable success in the commercial world, with developers worldwide collaborating on code, sharing their work freely, and making money.

Also, it has been proven essential in bringing citizen governments closer to the people they represent.

When citizens have access to open source data, they can better make informed decisions that impact their lives and their communities, which means more innovative policies, more effective implementation of policies, and less corruption in government agencies overall.

With so much at stake, governments around the world must open their doors to open source data to ensure smooth operation and the best representation of their citizens possible.

The Importance of Open Source Data for Government

There are two main arguments why open source is good for the government: the advantages to citizens and the advantages to governments.

Initiatives to promote open government seek to raise public knowledge of government services. Pew Research Center 2015 conducted a study that reported that about 20% of Americans said they used open government data to learn about both teacher and student performance.

About 17% of respondents indicated they looked for hospital or healthcare professional information on open government data sources. Another 7% of respondents said they kept track of agreements between public institutions and commercial enterprises that used public services.

Additionally, when governments make their data available, the general public may see how and where their taxes are used.

Citizens are more involved when they know how the government uses their taxes. They realize that taking action to ensure they get the services they require is in their best interests.

For instance, some cities have information on calls made to emergency services and first responders posted on their websites. Neighborhood watches can effectively protect their neighborhoods with the use of this information.

Why Open Source is Important

One of the ways why open source is important is that it prevents the government from acquiring a monopoly on data. For democracy to work successfully in a city or state, its citizens must know what their government is doing.

Also, they must have unlimited access to government data and information to examine and share with other citizens.

Initiatives for open government can improve government performance and raise citizen trust in the institution. Its advantages are crucial for releasing more innovation from the vast amounts of data the state and local governments already have.

Below are more benefits of open source data in Governments:

Building reputation, credibility, and trust

Publicly available data’s transparency reveals an aspect of an institution that is frequently hidden. Sharing details of your own life with someone is akin to being this open and vulnerable.

An open and honest dialogue fosters a great deal of trust and respect, and the outcome is frequently a closer, more dependent connection between the two individuals.

Encouraging public education

By making the data widely available, open government data allows citizens to respond proactively to those often requested queries.

Since information can be readily available as soon as it is obtained, a community may become more cohesive and empowered to influence the future by accessing valuable data.

Upskilling the Workforce

Governments may retain current employees, provide aspiring members of the public sector workforce an opportunity to gain new skills, and hire for talent increasingly in demand among younger employees by implementing open source data.

About 90% of hiring managers concur that finding open source talent is a priority, according to the 2021 Linux Foundation Open Source Jobs Report.

Governments now have access to an entirely new talent pool that may be able to lead initiatives for digital transformation as a result of the move to open source.

Promoting accountability

This is also another one of the ways why open source data is good for governments. Open source datasets can help people stay connected and informed about the ongoing activities of their local government.

Residents can observe what their government has accomplished and how much work remains, making the governments responsible for the outcomes they generate.

How is Open Source Data Good for Governments?

Here are five reasons open source data matters to the government today and why it will continue to matter as technology evolves.

Inclusivity

Open source data governance tools are a great way to encourage inclusivity. The technology is open-sourced, meaning anyone can use it for free and contribute ideas for improvement. This fosters innovation and encourages collaboration among government agencies.

Open source data governance also includes the ability for anyone with internet access to see what’s being shared — which could lead to greater accountability from those in charge of information. If a problem or oversight is identified, it can be easily solved by those who have the skills or experience to do so.

Governments should use open source data quality tools to make their data open and accessible. Also, they should be inclusive in that they are responsive to the needs of marginalized communities, including those that may be excluded from participation because of geography, disability, or other factors.

Open source data modeling tools in government can also help by allowing anyone who wants to participate in the process an equal opportunity.

Security

Government open source data is critical for security. Without it, we are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Hackers will use any vulnerability they can find, and the more vulnerabilities there are, the easier it is for them to break in.

When government agencies release their data as open source, hackers have fewer ways to attack and get into systems.

Also, governments need data about the world that can be used for assessing and predicting threats as a part of their responsibility to protect and keep citizens safe.

They are responsible for keeping this information private, so other countries or terrorist groups cannot misuse it. This is where government open source software becomes valuable.

Interoperability

Open source data governance tools can be used to encourage interoperability and information sharing between different government agencies.

For example, a law enforcement agency may use open source data from a healthcare provider’s database to help solve a crime.

There are many advantages of using open source data for the government, but one of the most important is that it encourages interoperability and information sharing between government agencies.

Cost

The cost of open source in government is low, but the benefits are high. Open source data governance tools like Socrata and CKAN can provide governments with open data to share with the public.

Government open source could save taxpayers billions of dollars. They can cut costs by sharing data, software, and other information they already own with the public.

Governments and citizens alike will benefit from this open data because the public will be able to contribute to government operations in a way that was not possible before. We need an open source approach for governments for transparency and efficiency.

This new level of transparency increases trust in government and helps to inform more effective policy decisions by providing better information and insights from which to conclude.

Time

Governments across the world are embracing open source data to save time and money. Typically, governments have always been known for their technological innovation.

They use this type of data to streamline public services, gain insight into how people interact with their programs, increase transparency, and more.

Plus, governments using open source data can reduce costs by not having to develop proprietary software from scratch.

Conclusion

Government officials are using open source to provide better public monitoring of their operations as citizens across the world seek greater accountability and transparency from them. Since open source only serves to create a more open and transparent government, there are no good reasons not to use it for public sector data needs.

Originally posted on our home base at unpluggddigital.co. Check it out to see more of what we do and how we can work with you.

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Kareem P. Jackson

Product Engineer💻….Global Citizen🛩Blockchain Enthusiast🔗….Stoic….Founder of Unpluggd Media Group. I build things and tell stories….https://kareempjackson.com