Suc­cess Fac­tors for Open Data in Dubai and the Mid­dle East

Arabnet - The Quarterly - - Technology -

When think­ing about the po­ten­tial im­pact of open data in the Mid­dle East, one of the most crit­i­cal fac­tors is the gov­ern­ment’s view on com­mer­cial­iza­tion: how im­por­tant is it to gen­er­ate rev­enue from the open data, as op­posed to keep­ing data free, and in­cen­tiviz­ing higher en­gage­ment and the po­ten­tial for greater public ben­e­fit? Gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties that fo­cus on the im­me­di­ate rev­enues they can gen­er­ate out of sell­ing their data (in what­ever form), may be risk­ing the longterm po­ten­tial of open data, which is more valu­able but also re­quires more time and pa­tience. How­ever, while gov­ern­ments have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to share data to fuel the digital econ­omy, they ul­ti­mately need to gen­er­ate rev­enue as well, at least for the sus­tain­abil­ity of such ini­tia­tives. Beyond the con­cerns re­gard­ing com­mer­cial­iza­tion, in the MENA re­gion, some gov­ern­ments have pri­va­tized or out­sourced some core ser­vices – like their trans­porta­tion sys­tems, etc – and there­fore some of their data re­sides with pri­va­tized en­ti­ties.

What is the gov­ern­ment’s role in es­tab­lish­ing the city / coun­try as a hub for in­for­ma­tion in­no­va­tion? Leg­is­la­tion and en­cour­age­ment from gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties are needed for star­tups to em­bark on open data projects. The pri­vate sec­tor’s con­tri­bu­tion in R&D is also cru­cial for

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