Two Southampton University students, one from PAIR and one from ECS, with a colleague from India, have successfully bid for a research grant from the Open Data for Development (OD4D) Partnership to develop user centred metrics for open datasets – one of just five projects to be selected internationally for this programme.
Currently metrics for open data sets are based on “top-down” approaches – applying principles that open data experts think are appropriate to assess the quality of datasets. While these are valuable there is a danger that these metrics do not correspond to what users find most important in open data. Mark Frank from PAIR, Johanna Walker from ECS, and Nisha Thompson from the DataMeet Trust (a community that works in India on open data and data science) will be developing metrics using “bottom-up” approaches based on what users’ need from open data to solve pressing business problems. They will be working with civil society organisations (CSOs) in the housing sector in the UK and India – running workshops to identify in detail what about open data matters most to them and then developing metrics based on the results. The team will be presenting their results at the Open Data Conference in Ottawa in May 2015.