If Open Data is Like Open Source (20 Years Ago) 3/5: Contributing to Open Data

In five posts, I want to speculate about the next twenty years of open data based on the past twenty years of open source. The idea is to transfer what we learned from open source in one way or another to open data.

This is part 3 on contributing to open data projects.

Contributing to open data means contributing to an existing collection of open data (rather than starting your own).

Outbound governance

Like in open source, companies will need an open data program office (ODPO) that educates the company about open data, and in particular product managers. Strategic product managers, together with the ODPO, need to define

  • whether some data is competitively differentiating (and hence to be kept closed) or
  • just creates costs and would be better be sourced from an open data project.

Any contribution to an open data project needs to be vetted from an intellectual property perspective (revealing, compliance).

Quality assurance

Like in open source, I expect open data projects to establish their own quality assurance for contributions to it. This will take the form of a two-class society, in which core project members (committers) perform review and quality control before letting data in, and contributors who collect data and submit it to a project.

I expect the development of tools to support the necessary workflows.

Legal documentation

Like in open source, I expect projects to come up with open data contributor agreements or certificates of origin that assure an open data project that a contributor is legally allowed to make the contribution.

Next up: Creating and leading open data projects.

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