Canada’s Draft Open Government Plan — The Promise and Problems Reviewed

David Eaves, eaves.ca, Jun 21, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

David Eaves posts an interesting and fairly detailed analysis and review of Canada's open data plan. I'm in accord with most of it but there are some things that stand out to me:

- Eaves opposes a "national network" of open data users because "There is nothing that will hold these people together. People don’t come together to create open data standards, they come together to solve a problem." If we focus only on solving problems, then we favour incumbents, at the expense of new uses which could be enabled by creating affordances.

- On a "songle search window" Eaves argues "The point to this work is the assumption that the main problem to access is that things can’t be found. So far, however, I’d say that’s an assumption..." Yes, fair enough. But that's not an argument against it, it's an argument against it being the sole strategy.

- Finally, Eaves says, "Please don’t call it “open” science. Science, by definition, is open. If others can’t see the results or have enough information to replicate the experiment, then it isn’t science." I'd love to believe that, but it's not true. A lot of science, including federal government science, is done for internal and commercial clients behind closed door. I'd love to see this be more open, but defining it as "non-science" accomplishes nothing.

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