Brexit is also a wake-up call for the Open Data movement

What is Open Data? Open Data is something with which we can…

“improve how we access healthcare services, discover cures for diseases more efficiently, understand our governments better”.

The definition above is a verbatim quote of the definition from the Open Data Institute (ODI). I have just emphasized the part most directly linked to the possibility for all citizens to make informed decisions.

Where was ODI born, and where is it based? Why, of course in the country that not only has been for years “at the top of the league table for open data" but in [pray note… ]¬†May 2016 still “maintains Open Data lead”.

What country is that? Well, this inspirer and host of a movement to empower all citizens to make informed¬† decisions is.. the same country in which, today, there are “Leave voters” angry and “full of regret” because:

  • “they thought UK would stay in EU”
  • “they had not forseen the immediate economic impact”

Hmm.. something didn’t work in UK, did it?

What follows will be superfluous for readers who already know my Open Data-related work, but let me say it explicitly: what I’ve written above is NOT an accusation or critique of Open Data and/or ODI in any way. It is ONLY a trick, a constructive provocation to put on the table some points that after Brexit are even more crucial for (at least) both UK and all the rest of Europe:

  • Everybody who believes in the value of Open Data must work harder now, to help people avoid similar regrets in the future
  • We Open Data advocates may benefit from an “examination of conscience” to understand what could have been done more, or differently, to prevent such regrets
  • This difficult moment can (no, sorry: must) be a great occasion to increase demand and usage of Open Data, and we must work together towards that goal. because…
  • Open Data should also mean “never having to say I regret how I voted”; or at least make it much less likely than it is today, and, in general, to understand what may happen if you don’t bother to vote..

It seems to me that we may start by re-thinking from scratch points 4.5 and 4.6 of this 2011 report of mine. Shall we?