We've rounded up some of the reasons governments cite for not releasing data to the public. We're asking for help now in refuting those reasons. You can read more in this blog post: http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2013/09/05/reasons-not-to-release-data/

We're especially interested in how you refute statements like these:

We won’t be able to keep up! / We don't have the time

With variants of:

  1. I don’t have time/no one will help me
  2. There will be unending data release
  3. … unending cost
  4. … exhaustion
  5. Our staff can’t handle new software/training/processes
  6. We don’t have the technology
  7. We don’t have a website
  8. We don't have the servers for this
  9. We would have to take our entire production system offline for a couple of days to program the system to get the data you want

What's the best response when a government says it can't release data due to these kinds of time concerns?

1 Answer 1


These seems like objections for a government that hasn't started making data public. If that's the case, then the key thing is go get them to make a start.

Real time data is great, but there's lots of really valuable data that changes very slowly, can be easily exported. GIS data and budget data are often good targets, but choose something that makes sense in your local context.

When a government is getting started, they don't need a dedicated open data web site. They can just make a new page on one of their existing sites with links. Make sure though, that they have a way of keeping track of traffic and downloads. You'll want to be strategic in selecting data sets that will get used so you can make the case for releasing more data later.

The last point seems different than the others, because it seems like you are requesting a particular piece of data, not just advocating for open data. If you get this request, I would try to find out what the software is and talk to the vendor to see what's possible.

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