Start of Open Data Portal by the Vienna University of Economics and Business

This month, January 2015, the Vienna University of Economics and Business launched a new OpenData portal. It is part of the ongoing project “OpenData@WU”. Currently it contains 86 datasets which includes Courses (41) and Organizations (29). There is a REST API available and weekly updates announced. The data is licensed under Creative Commens Attribute.

With these steps being forward towards a more open und accountable university, I would wish for two more things:

  1. Opening the university with publishing research results as open access and allowing open collaboration has more potential than floor plans.
  2. Allow direct participation in administrative decisions. This can include feedback on facilities, services or equippement (perhaps a “student budgeting”) and even decisions on new additional courses.

 

As a conclusion, it’s indeed a big step into an open university. Still, the more interesting questions stays within different fields. The foundation is set. Now the next steps need to be looked at carefully.

Civil Society and Data Politics in International Diplomacy

Vienna was the centre of nuclear disarment in December 2014. The  Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons brought the new process of humanitarian consequences an important step forward.

Not just on the political stage, it made new ground. It allowed a new level of civil society particpation and openess which is strongly missing in international politics. Whereas the use of social media and other internet services is an already established in new approaches of Diplomacy, the live reporting of ICAN and ICAN Austria set a new benchmark.

The core is a webtool consisting of two parts:

Reporting about the conference online and at the venue itself on large touch screens is indeed something new. The diplomates itself were standing around the screens, attensively checking on their own county assessment and quotes from their statements. And also complaining if their intension is not reflected as desired. The response to this installation shows that there is a need. Having it online that the whole world can follow creates much more credibilty and transparency than a simple video streaming.

Visualising such data is only a first step. In each policy field there is a lot of data from historic archieves, geo data and other open data. Arranging this around political decisions, processes and events will create complete new possibilities. It is hard to predict what impact this can have on the political outcome itself. The only thing we know is that this will change the process itself.