Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Data to stimulate tech-sector innovation demands transparency, says Coalition

Via "The Data Transparency Coalition", by Sabrina I. Pacifici, here, comes the following information from the United States:
“The Data Transparency Coalition advocates on behalf of the private sector and the public interest for the publication of government information as standardized, machine-readable data. We believe governments should adopt non-proprietary data standards for the information they generate or collect, and publish such information as machine-readable data, especially with regard to their spending, regulatory, legislative, and judicial activity. The transformation of public information generated and received by governments from disconnected documents into interoperable open data will:
  • Strengthen democratic accountability by making public data more accessible for citizens and watchdogs;
  • Enhance government management by improving data sharing and analytics capabilities;
  • Reduce compliance costs by automating reporting processes.
Data transparency also stimulates tech-sector innovation and creates jobs. The Data Transparency Coalition, on behalf of both the private sector and the public interest:
  • Advocates legislative and regulatory mandates for data standardization and publication;
  • Educates government leaders, private-sector innovators, and the public on the benefits of data transparency; and
  • Convenes stakeholders to collaboratively design policies and build technology solutions that will drive the data transparency transformation.”
While the Data Transparency Coalition's aims and objectives are clearly more focused on the political arena than on business and commerce, the statement that "data transparency also stimulates tech-sector innovation and creates jobs" is one of which this weblog firmly approves.  The patent and IP analytics sector enriches, contextualises and personalises the raw data relating to patents and other publicly-administered rights systems -- but analytics can only be truly effective as a means of interpreting the big picture and bringing it down to a manageable scale if the data itself if accurate, current and relevant. Transparency and consistency in the methodology of data-gathering is therefore of prime importance.

Also important is to know what information is not available because no-one has taken the trouble to obtain it, a point made to us by Nick White (Tangible IP):
"What is astonishing is that much useful information is not gathered at the patent filing stage and cannot easily be sourced elsewhere. Have a look at the freedom of information requests to the UK Intellectual Property Office and the answers, which often include "we do not have that data".
While the patent system has been going since the Middle Ages, the appreciation of the quality and importance of data is still in its relative infancy. Transparency is part of the process of growing up and reaching the degree of maturity which will greatly enhance the utility of patent analytics.

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