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IODC16 in review: A summary of the Asia Regional Talk

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[Note: This blog originally appeared on the International Open Data Conference (IODC) website. It offers a reflections on discussions about the region of Asia.]



By: Wei-Chung Hwang

The Asia regional talk held at #IODC16 was a remarkable success (watch the recording of the session here). Featuring six representatives from different countries (India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand), the session yielded discussions on a variety of topics, namely:

  • national open data agendas;
  • regional partnerships; and
  • goals for global collaboration.

Dr. Chi-Ming Peng from Open Data Alliance (ODA) Taiwan provided information on the initiation of the Asia Open Data Partnership. He also mentioned some of the events important to this region, such as the yearly open data summit and cross-country hackathons.

Dr. Peng provided updates on the development of open data initiatives and the data economy in Taiwan. It was noted that Taiwan has come out on top among 122 nations and areas in 2015 according to Open Knowledge International’s global open data index. This achievement was based on the top-down open data policy announced in 2011, and a healthy ecosystem in public and private partnerships.

Mr. Sumandro Chattapadhyay from The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) of India shared updates on the policy and progress of open data in India, both for central government and state governments. He mentioned that while the driven force from government is important, the data outside the government and the joint effort from civil society is also critical.

Mr. Arthur Glenn Maail from World Wide Web Foundation Open Data Lab Jakarta explained the state of open data in Indonesia based on the insights from the Open Data Barometer (which is a collaborative project between the World Wide Web Foundation and the Open Data for Development Network). While at the the national level, the Government of Indonesia (GoI) is implementing “one data” policy, open data is gaining traction at the sub-national level, and civil society organizations continue to lead the way in Indonesia’s open data movement.

Mr. Teruo Tomita from the National Strategy Office of ICT, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of Japan, shared the deployment of the open data initiative in Japan. The open data initiative was formed after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. A roadmap for open government data promotion and action for encouraging new open data was announced in the following years. In the future, Japan will take a further step to implement “solution-oriented open data”, and to promote dynamic engagement of all citizens.

Mr. YS Lee from National Information Society Agency (NIA) of Korea provided information on the open data agenda in Korea. He noted that Korea enacted the world’s first open data law in 2013. After that, the government has established a clear policy and organizational framework to manage and promote the release and usage of open data, and to incubate new startups. He emphasized that the ultimate goal of open data is to realize the data-based creative economy.

Dr. Panachit Kittipanya-ngam from Electronic Government Agency (EGA) of Thailand noted that while open data is one of the key sources among the big data value chain in Thailand, the government has been working on government open data, data community engagement, and prototyping of data platform and applications.

In reflecting on the discussions held at this session, we learned that different approaches were used to promote open data for each country. Generally, some regions adopt open data to address social issues with the driving force from civil society and open data community, while other regions pay more attention to the economic value of open data by top-down policy and a clear roadmap.

According to the opinions and suggestions provided by the representatives, the most fundamental principle for the regional open data partnership is to recognize the needs and efforts in each country and to continue to work on the common interests bilaterally and multilaterally. Such common interests include the extension of international hackathons to include more countries, indices to evaluate the progress of open data in each country, regional open data portals, application programming interfaces, and applications that are specific to regional needs.