True transparency

August 6th, 2009 by Grace Meng

Andrew Walkinshaw of Timetric at News Innovation from Martin Belam on Vimeo.

There’s a real credibility problem around data.  People are convinced that what they’re being given is partial, or biased, or incomplete…And if you just give people all the data in a form they can poke around and play with it, they trust it a lot more, they can see where it’s coming from, they can see what it means, and they can draw their own conclusions.

Nicely said, by Andrew Walkingshaw of Timetric.

There’s a lot of talk about transparency these days, whether we’re talking about the government or financial institutions or nonprofits.  And usually, people promise they will increase transparency by sharing more information.  But as Walkingshaw points out, a lot of us are suspicious about “data” claims.  It’s not enough to say Goldman’s profits are up, or the Gates Foundation’s grants result in great outcomes, or that government spending led to x amount of economic growth.

True transparency can only come by revealing the underlying data.  We’re thrilled to hear about projects like Timetric, that allows people to poke around all kinds of data sets.  Ultimately, that’s what we at the Common Data Project want to do to, to create mechanisms that allow unprecedented access to data sets with sensitive and personal information, so that we can all poke around, play with the data, and draw our own conclusions. Data disclosure can and should be the norm, not the exception.

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