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The term “Open Data” refers to the philosophical and methodological approach to the democratization of data enabling citizens to access and create value through the reuse of public sector information. Today, Open Data is gathering momentum and forms part of a global movement linked to Open Access and comparable to other Open movements such as Open Source.

Today, the Open Data movement has created great excitement in the developer community with a seemingly endless stream of novel and innovative applications, tools and visualizations that repurposes and enriches public data.

However, while Open Data gives rise to many new opportunities it also poses many challenges. As Boyd (2010) states, access to public information to provide transparency represents only the first step to a more informed citizenry. The success of Open Data will depend in part upon addressing existing barriers to access which encompasses issues such as digital inclusion and information literacy. As such, there is much work still to do to make this promised future happen.

This special feature in the Journal of Spatial Information Science aims to bring together some of the key developers, academics and writers on Open Data to document its lineage, debate its philosophy and methods and to envision its future. Contributions are welcome from any source, and in any style appropriate to the arguments being made.

The deadline for the submission of full research articles is 30th June 2011.  Articles will be subject to the normal JOSIS peer review process. For more details of the submission process CLICK HERE.

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