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 this: We need more proven results before we can open data.

What's the best response when a government says this?

  • Could you say more about what they mean by "proven results"?
    – fgregg
    Sep 13, 2013 at 19:31
  • My understanding is they are saying that they need to see examples of why it is worth their time/effort/money to release data. They want to know what people can do with the data and what the "return on investment" is for putting it online. I hope that helps! Sep 13, 2013 at 21:04

1 Answer 1



Tell the story of peer cities or agencies that released data and realized benefits. It's hard without a specific target, but by now cities and agencies of very different sizes have released data and seen people run with it.

Code for America's Brigade are a good resource, for telling these stories for cities, http://brigade.codeforamerica.org.

Bigger examples you could point to

  • GTFS
  • Weather
  • Open Street Map
  • The whole field of geographic market segmentation which largely depends upon census data


This is what Hackathons are good for. It demonstrates the reality of the premise that if you release these data then people will do things with it, and that the government will get good press for making the data available.

  • 2
    It's also worth finding cases of similar data, or you're going to run into the 'well of course people want (traffic|weather|map) data ... but no one would want (x)' argument.
    – Joe
    Sep 16, 2013 at 10:47

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