Open Data Workshop

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‘The Lab’, Digital Studio Arts West building, University of Melbourne


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Dale Leorke

'Open data' involves the publication of anonymised datasets on freely accessible online platforms for use by businesses, entrepreneurs, journalists, researchers and everyday citizens. Open data policies are being embraced by local, national and state governments in Australia and internationally, with open data 'portals' and repositories like used to publish large volumes of data free to use and share under a creative commons licence.

Governments and advocates of open data argue that data is more socially and economically valuable when it is free and open, rather than behind a paywall. They contend that it increases government accountability and transparency; improves efficiency of public services and infrastructure; encourages citizen participation in planning and policymaking; and stimulates innovation and entrepreneurship through start-ups and app development. On the other hand, open data also raises concerns about privacy, 'data linking' and the growing reliance of governments and corporations on 'big data' algorithms for their strategic and decision-making processes.

This one-day workshop brings together policymakers, scholars and industry users of open data to discuss the opportunities and challenges open data presents for stakeholders, compare best practice and discuss the future of open and 'big' data in government policy. Invitees will be invited to participate in a day of catered roundtable discussions led by the MNSI Open Data for City Planning & Policy research team.


9.30 Welcome and Introduction
9.35 Outline of Key Issues relating to Open Data
10.00 Table Discussion 1 - The State of Open Data

This session will discuss the state of open data in Australia and internationally - what countries are currently doing the most with their open data, how Australia compares with others, and how policy approaches to open data in Australia might be improved.
11.00 Morning Tea
11.30 Table Discussion 2 - Privacy and Open Data

This session focuses on the privacy challenges and implications arising from open data. Is open data at risk of data linking and re-identification? Are the regulations around privacy, the right to one's data and criminal offences for linking data adequate?
12.30 Lunch
1.30 Table Discussion 3 - Open Data for Reporting and Research

This session will examine the user end of open data - particularly how useful it is for journalists and researchers, and what additional datasets could be opened up to improve research and reporting.
2.30 Wrap-Up and Closing Remarks
3.00 Close