Challenges and Opportunities of Open Data


Over two decades humans have increasingly recognized that data created by researchers and governments are a public good and have recurring value when these data are made broadly accessible. This has been encapsulated in the concept of Open Data. Open Data, whether produced as the result of governmental initiatives or research projects, are data that are released (made accessible) for redistribution, reuse, remixing, and reanalysis. This course (INF2223H — Open Government and Research Data) provides students an opportunity to develop a functional knowledge of the open data concept in the context of government open data and research open data. In the case of research data, the release of these data are essential to facilitate the reproducibility, transparency, and verification of scientific studies. They also can become foundational resources for innovation and new discoveries.

In the case of government open data, when effectively used these data enable citizens to tap public information resources which can empower citizens to contribute to social activism through using the analysis of data to underpin the questioning of public policy, to create new information services, and even to produce economic value and establish new businesses. The abilities to navigate critically the open data landscape to discover, assess, analyse, remix, and re-distribute these data are highly relevant for information professionals.

In this course students will develop an understanding as to how to use open data personally and professionally and to support others to use it for a variety of purposes from, for instance, in the case of open research data validating or questioning research findings to in the case of open government data to enabling social activism.

Note: Previous course title prior to September 1, 2022 was INF2223H: Open Government and Research Data

Note 2: Prior to September 1, 2022, the pre-requisite course was INF1003H: Information Systems, Services and Design

Note 3: Prior to September 1, 2022, the course exclusion was INF1005H section 0107: Information Workshop I: Open Data, Private Data