[@OKFNau] Sustainable open data

Andrew Perry andrew.perry at foclaw.org
Mon Sep 2 15:14:05 UTC 2013

Oops - that link to the Australian FixMyStreet should have been: 

Andrew Perry wrote:
> This is a great topic!
> My personal view / manifesto is outlined here: http://www.foclaw.org
> In order for sharing of data / code to be sustainable, sometimes a mix 
> of free/open/creative commons etc models may be appropriate.
> For example, two organisations that are co-founding the Collaboratory 
> incubation and co-working space with us at Parramatta 
> (http://www.collaboratory.com.au & 
> https://www.facebook.com/CollaboratoryAU) are Open Local (non-profit) 
> and Community Builders Australia (social enterprise).
> Open Local has implemented mySociety's Open Source FixMyStreet 
> platform here in Australia (http://www.fixmystreet.org), as well as a 
> MapIt server of electoral boundaries (http://mapit.openlocal.org.au). 
> Open Local allows free non-commercial, low volume use of the MapIt 
> server as well as providing subscriptions for higher volume and 
> commercial use.  Open Local is committed to Open Source / Open Data / 
> Open Standards and has, to date, received no public funding.
> Community Builders Australia supports Open Local through, among other 
> things, a subscription to the Open Local MapIt server.  It uses it for 
> the Where to Vote and How to Vote apps it has developed which are 
> available free (as in beer) at:
> For Android:
> Where to Vote: http://bit.ly/14JhAbn
> How to Vote: http://bit.ly/15fQHSz
> And for iOS at:
> Where to Vote: http://bit.ly/15fgFmi
> How to Vote: http://bit.ly/15aranM
> The electoral boundaries and polling booth locations / candidate lists 
> are provided under creative commons licenses from the AEC / ABS.
> The big win for the AEC out of making their data available this way is 
> that they have facilitated the public having access to a free app to 
> find their local voting locations and candidates, which they/taxpayers 
> haven't had to pay to develop or support themselves.  Of course in 
> future they may want to have their own branded version of the app (or 
> build a similar app).  Community Builders Australia's model is that 
> candidates/their supports will fund the provision of the app in future 
> by paying to include their profiles and how to vote / social media / 
> fundraising links in the app in addition to the basic ballot order 
> listing of candidates that is provided.
> Election night broadcasts also make great use of data feeds coming 
> openly from the AEC.  This not only provides transparency, but great 
> value to networks who want to provide up to the minute coverage - so 
> in line with your question, should TV networks pay for those data 
> feeds?  Arguably yes - so that at least the infrastructure required 
> for a live stream is adequately compensated.
> For example, the data feeds could be made available for a fee to 
> networks, and to candidates/parties and individuals/non-profits on 
> election night under a "free beer" creative commons licence.  Shortly 
> after election day the data could then be distributed under a more 
> liberal, public, "free speech" licence.  (Mind you because this is 
> election data I would be more inclined to say it should be licensed 
> liberally from the get-go - just the "live" distribution stream may 
> not be available to the public or other people who don't contribute to 
> the cost of running that stream on election night - but the data could 
> still be seeded as a torrent with periodic updates!).
> Other great innovations arising from the "open" release of this data 
> are featured in the following article you may have seen:
> http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/diy-howtovote-cards-to-give-voters-control-in-just-a-few-clicks-20130830-2sup6.html
> Through our involvement as an anchor tenant and co-founder of 
> Collaboratory, we hope to bring government, education and private 
> sector stakeholders together to use Open Innovation to develop 
> sustainable models for creating and sharing tools and data.  Creative 
> Commons (discriminatory style) licences are one way that this can be 
> achieved, by allowing non-commercial / developmental / educational use 
> for free while requiring payment for a separate licence for commercial 
> use.  Like the mining tax ;-), the commercial licence could be 
> profit-based (or revenue based).
> As long as the terms of the arrangement are clear and aren't varied 
> whimsically by the government licensor, then the development community 
> can invest in building great tools using the "creative commons data" 
> (without barriers to entry) and then release them in a way that the 
> government gets a return on its contribution to the app / service's 
> success.  We see some parallels in the Apple App Store and Google Play 
> Store in that the tools and APIs are accessible for free, but the 
> providers get a revenue share for the non-free apps.
> Regards
> Andrew
> *Andrew Perry*
> Executive Director
> free open creative law
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> Andrew Newman wrote:
>> I went to Rufus's talk on Friday about Open Data and I asked about 
>> the quality and sustainability of producing open data.
>> I wonder about how it's going to work generally? The open data 
>> movement is great and I'd like to see it work but the revenue model 
>> seems broken.  Companies like Google, Facebook, etc. make money 
>> selling data and services. The government can provide amazing 
>> infrastructure (Internet, GPS, public data sets, etc) but it then 
>> fails to capture the biggest revenue stream from these companies 
>> which is tax - they are phenomenally good at paying almost no 
>> tax [1].  Is there an alternative revenue stream?
>> One project that I'm thinking of, the Queensland Globe, relied on low 
>> or free licenses and converting the data to one that could be used by 
>> Google Earth Enterprise.  It doesn't seem to have been thought of in 
>> a sustainable way.
>> Related to this idea is that governments should try and consume the 
>> data they produce so that they can reduce the duplication (using a 
>> proprietary system and producing regular data dumps).  If it's seen 
>> as something external to their process they can just cut off the data 
>> dumps.
>> Rufus mentioned API/services and paying to update (submitting the 
>> data attracts a fee) - I think it would help but a lot of these 
>> systems already have these models in place and still aren't done 
>> sustainably.  It seems they think of IT more of a project of work, 
>> with a deadline, that is completed rather than one that has constant 
>> feedback and maintenance costs.
>> [1] 
>> http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2013/7/15/social-media/looking-beyond-apples-tax-evasion-tactics
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