Governments are key collectors and producers of large amounts of data that, when released publicly for reuse, can be used in new and innovative ways. In the past, governments would charge a fee for access to this data, but there is increasing evidence that free access will bolster economic activity and efficiency.
‘Open data’ is the commitment that some organisations make to allow data to be freely available for reuse. Many groups and innovators are already ‘mashing up’ government data to create new stories, visualisations, resources and tools.
The results of the recent Public Sector Information Survey suggest that many government agencies possess data that could generate significant value if made available for reuse, including by private sector organisations.65 66 The Australian Government has made progress on this front. A recent report by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner Open public sector information: from principles to practice, reported that government agencies are actively embracing an open access and proactive disclosure culture. The high response rate to the Public Sector Information Survey and the widespread and growing use of digital and web technologies to support a transformation is another sign of progress.67