Evolving the commons: top-down and bottom-up

A lot of our discussion over the last few months has been about how the Data Commons might evolve.

If there is an ambiguity in our presentation, it is in the different meanings of the term. We have a vision of a Data Commons for New Zealand – the Class I data interest, unified by a common set of principles and standards. But we also believe that Data Commons will naturally form first around Communities of Interest in Class III – for example, in asset management, predator control, or delivery of personal social services – who can see the value in development of specific data sharing, reuse, and integration applications.

We need both. The vision we have for a Data Commons is for sharing and reuse of data without limits – because nobody can predict for certain what we as scientists or as a society can discover about ourselves from data integration. So as not to foreclose on the possibilities of expansion, we need the development of a common set of principles and standards at level I, to which we hope the specific communities at level III will join themselves.

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