[okfn-discuss] Building the (Open) Data Ecosystem

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Fri Apr 1 17:19:34 UTC 2011

On Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 4:10 PM, <koltzenburg at w4w.net> wrote:

>  hi Rufus,
> *
> *

> *On Fri, 1 Apr 2011 14:45:18 +0100, Rufus Pollock wrote*
> > Hi All,
> >

> >
> > ## The Present: A One-Way Street
> >
> > At the current time, the basic model for data processing is a
> [UTF-8?]“one way
> > [UTF-8?]street†. Sources of data, such as government, publish data out
> into
> > the world, where, (if we are lucky) it is processed by intermediaries
> > such as app creators or analysts, before finally being consumed by end
> > users1.
> >
> > It is a one way street because there is no feedback loop, no sharing
> > of data back to publishers and no sharing between intermediaries.

Agreed. I have been working out these ideas at the Am. Chem. Soc. I came up
with the term "asymmetric" - and this is well argued in Becky's chilling
analysis . So Open Data is not just the crumbs that the peaseant consume
under the table.

I also addressed the ecosystem aspect and here I use terms like "bottom-up"
and "web-democratic" . For me this describes Wikipedia, OKF, OSM and my own
seeds in the ecosystem BlueObelisk
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Obeliskand Quixote
http://quixote.wikispot.org/Front_Page. They have been designed (or have
evolved) to have no centre and no hierarchy - they work by "rought consensus
and running code".

Of course the ACS just continues to go ahead and copyright data

> > So what should be different?
> >
> > ## The Future: An Ecosystem
> > >
> > With the introduction of data cycles we have a real ecosystem not a
> > one way street and this ecosystem thrives on collaboration,
> > componentization and open data.
> >

This is exactly how Blue Obelisk and Quixote work.

The power of the ecosystem is that it can find vary dilute resources and
concentaret them (to use chemical terms). If there are (say) 100,000
chemists and 0.1% care about doing something for Openness then that's 100
activists and that is enough.


Peter Murray-Rust
Reader in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
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