How much does your city spend on open data?

(Photo credit: Ervins Strauhmanis/Flickr)

Thanks to the What Works Cities initiative, the Sunlight Foundation Local Team has been hard at work helping U.S. cities advance open data policy and practice, including in cities that may be in the early stages of their open data journey, building an open data program from scratch. Whenever we work with cities like this, public officials inevitably ask a critical question: “How much is this going to cost?”

As it turns out, there’s not much quantitative, comparable information out there about the cost of open data! So, in order to provide an empirical and realistic answer to inquisitive and budget-conscious city leaders, we are conducting a short survey (embedded below) to collect information on how cities are investing financial resources in open data on an annual basis.

So, to any public leader helping to manage your city’s open data program or its budget, please help us out by completing the quick survey below so that every city can get a more complete picture of the resources required to achieve a desired level of service in a municipal open data program.

With a clearer idea of the financial costs, cities will be better positioned to do their own return on investment (ROI) analysis, having a better understanding of the “costs” part of the equation. As the costs and value of open data portals continue to be discussed and debated, we think it’s important to keep our partner cities well informed as they move toward greater transparency and accountability. Ultimately, Sunlight believes there are ways for a city governments to embrace open data on any budget, and we will continue to work to advance open data practice with each city’s needs and resources in mind.

Please be aware that the Sunlight Foundation does plan to share survey results openly online and directly with other cities; however, if this is a concern, there is an option in the survey to keep the name of the city anonymous. Thanks so much for your participation, and check our blog soon for the survey findings and results!