Next steps for the Open Data Community

There’s a feeling at this camp that we have an opportunity to influence a new government. There’s hope. How do we build on that?

Following Up Open Data Camp 9


  • People want two-way discussions, not talks.
  • Another Open Data Camp next year (but not July, please)
  • Crowdsource a list of events that are open data adjacent
  • There are government conference in related field in November. Could we get people on panels there? There would be an opportunity to meet there.

Social networks

A LinkedIn group? People aren’t keen on using X, so maybe LinkedIn is worth trying. We’ve tried Slack in the past, but it hasn’t worked.

Perhaps a forum? It works for some organisations, and you could set up strands for different discussions. There was some enthusiasm for the idea. What could we put on it? Local events organised through the forum. We need community management to make it work. The UK Open Government Network has an existing forum we could use.


Owen blogs consistently. What about the rest of us? It can be delivered as a newsletter as well.


  • Could we capture ideas and action point on a form linked from the follow-up email? There are data holding issues around this.

Towards Open Data Camp 20

What do we want by Open Data Camp 20, in a decade’s time? Do we require an action plan for that? Or do you want to remain just a series of events?

How healthy is the community in the UK now? Civil servants believe it to be strong — but are they talking about the Open Data Institute? But the community feels that perhaps it isn’t as strong and well-connected as it would like to be.

There are people out there who are part of the open data community who aren’t here: academics and journalists, for example. We are a self-selected group, and the community is wider than us. Part of the problem is the lack of an agreed communication channel. Maybe some people would join a forum who wouldn’t come to an event. The Open Data Café attracted a slightly different crowd.

Who has gone quiet over the years? There are people who have drifted away. There’s been a shift towards expertise and facts-driven governance. Open data is a tough rock to roll up the hill. Some people have stepped away from self-protection.

The community needs to coalesce and kick off the network effect — and then we might see things happen. We need to sustain the energy levels from the camp throughout the year. More events, lunch’n’learns. Who is writing good stuff on blogs? Who’s talking at conferences? Where do find people find support or critical friends to bounce ideas off?

Immediate Actions

  • Workshops for getting public and private sector people together better. That’s a discussion that needs to carry on.
  • There has to be a way of sharing anything we learn in the next few weeks about the attitude of the new administration to open data. There’s some sensitivity that people will sometimes need to be non-attributable.
  • The National Data Library in the Labour Manifesto indicates that they know data will be important in the government’s plans. But we don’t know where it will land, or what it will be. But we need to find out where it lands and connect with these people.
  • Prepare of the National Action Plan consultation in 2025
  • Engage with the Smart Data Council
  • Can we capture in one place all the organisations in and around this space? A “Who’s Who of Open Data”.
  • A mini Open Data Camp — ODCampX
  • Make sure that the idea that the moment is now in the email follow-up.
  • Get some event or meeting in the calendar before September and the return of Parliament

2 thoughts on “Next steps for the Open Data Community

  1. As I missed this completely these comments are based on a read of the updates. My thoughts are then:

    * People want two-way discussions, not talks. If you do, please apply the “pacman rule”
    * Another Open Data Camp next year (but not July, please). Yes please but also not July.
    * Crowdsource a list of events that are open data adjacent. Yes please!
    * There are government conference in related field in November. Albeit niche, there is also an open rail-data event being planned by the DfT in September.

    I work for a NDGB in transport (heavy rail) so would be keen to support a public and private sector meet up. But how?

    LinkedIn sounds great, or at least fine(ish). It is public and people tend to be well behaved.

    Finally, there is a thing worse that FOMO, there is actual MO).

    1. These are all great comments, Will! I agree with all you say (and your horrifying tale of MO makes me feel all the more grateful for having be able, at last, to attend my first in-person ODCamp!

      One thing – at present, the LinkedIn ODCamp presence is a Page – could we have (either as well as, or instead of, that) a group? We’d likely need a few moderators, if one was set up …

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