Open Data: More than Just Open It Up

Been away for long! yes I know, and lately my post no longer full of pics. But I promised you to post more pics (wait for it!). BY THE WAY! I’m working these days!! wohoo ~~ not as a full timer, yet as an intern. One week ago, my supervisor send me to the other team, who’s in charge of “Open Data Project” in Indonesia (we called it: One Data). Short story, One Data is an initiative by Indonesia’s Government (read: Mr. President) to raise accountability and transparency by open up the data. Basically, these data are own by government/institution related to Indonesia.

But, WAIT!

That’s sound much like “yeah so what?” me did the same thing. All I could think, when I first hear this project is exactly like that. But, what’s called as OPEN DATA isn’t only about OPEN IT UP. The point of opening the data, is more than let the public/citizen know, so then they could be a watchdog for the Government. Now, it sound’s confusing. Let me explain.

Online and Reusable File Format

The first principle of Open data is about the format. I bet all of you, at least have been once, looking for data about government (or everything else) right ? In Indonesia, common problem we found is, most of the data are only available offline. Thus, we gotta find a looong way to get access on it. We have to write a letter first, wait, following up, and bla bla bla (we ended up giving up and do a new research, instead of using the old one). That’s exactly what One Data Indonesia forge for. Openness of data, mean: it has to be accessible for anyone, anywhere. Which, it has to be online.

Second, in order to make it reuseable, the uploader has to make it in certain file format. Thus, make PDF is not acceptable. Most of us (count me in) having a problem handling PDF research data, all we can do is retyping in, which cost a lot of time! that’s why, open data suggest some file format to be used (xls, xml, csv) instead of PDF.

Why ?

I’ve been read so many research about internet in Indonesia, and I used it a lot for my research project. But, we could never get access for the raw data. Some of you may think, what’s the important of raw data, why bother if we could see the graphic one ? well, that’s the problem.

Just because, we couldn’t get the access of raw data. So many people in Indonesia (or maybe other part of the world) ended up doing the same research with different topic. For example, a data release by APJII only shows profile of internet users, and what they do on internet. But, how if I want to correlated user demography with their behavior ? or how if I want to know what sites they access ? or how if I disagree with their age group, I want to change it. There’s no way to do sort of things, and we ended up did the same things, that we would’ve been done.

That’s the urgency of building Open Data system. So that, every data is NOT ONLY available for everyone, but also REUSEABLE, so in the end, all data could be connected. And we, as a citizen, INSTEAD of playing a role as watchdog of Government, we together with Government, play a role as a PARTNER.

This may super long, so I urge you to watch the video instead. Good night !  xoxo.

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