The New York University's GovLab and the federal Department of Communications have embarked on a study of how Australian organisations are employing government data sets.
The 'Open Data 500' study was launched today at the Locate15 conference. It aims to provide a basis for assessing the value of open data and encourage the development of new businesses based on open data, as well as encourage discussion about how to make government data more useful to businesses and not-for-profit organisations.
The study is part of a series of studies taking place under the auspices of the OD500 Global Network.
"This study will help ensure the focus of Government is on the publication of high value datasets, with an emphasis on quality rather than quantity," a statement issued by the Department of Communications said.
"Open Data 500 advances the government’s policy of increasing the number of high value public datasets in Australia in an effort to drive productivity and innovation, as well as its commitment to greater consultation with private sector stakeholders on open data," Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in remarks prepared for the Locate 15 conference.
"High value datasets are those which are valuable to business; help the public make informed decisions or improve user experiences; or assist government in making evidence-based policy decisions," the minister said.
The Open Data 500 study will produce an "online platform" highlighting the use of open data among Australian businesses and not-for-profits.
"The results of the study will be used to develop a publicly available report that will help businesses to identify ways to reduce the costs of accessing government data, including licencing, versioning and control costs," the government statement said.
The federal government's data.gov.au repository currently includes 5200 data sets from 165 organisations.
Last year the government for the first time published federal budget data to data.gov.au.
The latest Intergenerational Report, released earlier this month, said that there is "huge potential" to "modernise and better manage Australia’s national data infrastructure, with appropriate data sharing and access arrangements that take advantage of new technologies, and make the best use of existing data and scarce resources".
The final report of the Financial System Inquiry, released at the end of last year, recommended the Productivity Commission undertake an inquiry into the potential benefits of increasing private sector use of data.