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G8 discusses open data

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A G8 ‘Open for Growth’ event on 15 June will discuss open data in the run up to next week’s G8 Leaders Summit. The 'Open for Growth' transparency event, which will be attended by open data leaders from government, the private sector and civil society organisations, will discuss five key challenges around open data.

The first challenge that will be discussed will be releasing data. According to a document setting out the challenges and discussion points, ‘Governments have access to large stores of data that can unleash huge economic and social benefits if made freely available. But government data is only part of the picture: data will deliver the greatest impact if it can be linked and compared to data held by a range of different private and public sector organisations.’

Participants will consider how to convince people of the power of open data and encourage greater releases of data from governments and industry.

The second challenge that will be discussed is funding or supporting competitions. The event will consider how competitions could promote and use open data, through activities such as data visualisation, crowd sourcing, hackathons, and finding solutions to real-world problems.

The meeting will also consider funding training and products in developing countries

According to the challenges document, ‘Access to technology and open data can provide radical solutions to long-standing problems around the world. However, open data can be a complex topic for the uninitiated. This is particularly so for people from countries where there may not be a strong history of transparency and access to data.’

Contributing knowledge and skills by offering tools, technical support and advice is the fourth topic for discussion. ‘Open data is only as good as the ways in which it is used. For entrepreneurs and innovators, it can require a huge leap to go from having a clever idea to having an innovative product that performs at scale,’ says the document.

The final challenge to be debated is forming a taskforce to tackle global problems. This will involve ‘joining forces with other organisations and individuals to drive change’.

The document setting out the challenges explains, ‘Those who are fortunate enough to find themselves with the time, resources and knowledge to both understand and affect the global situation owe it to those at the other end of the scale to world to redress the imbalance. Data plays a fundamental role in both breaking down these global problems and finding a solution.’

The event can be followed on Twitter using the hashtag #OpenDataChallenge.