One of the hardest parts of creating an open-data policy is figuring out where to start. Here at Sunlight, we have several resources to help with this, including our Open Data Policy Wizard.
We already have a sample “firestarter” policy that incorporates our guidelines for open-data policies. This policy was developed in 2015 with feedback from many experts on open data, including Mark Headd, Josh Tauberer, Abhi Nemani, Ben Wellington, Joel Natividad, and Andrew Nicklin.
The Wizard asks you several basic questions about your city (or other place) and then emails you a version of the sample policy that has your place’s information included in it. You also get a link to a Google Doc version of the policy, which you can directly edit. This is a starting point, not an ending point. In particular, we advise you make sure you fully understand how this policy incorporates our policy guidelines, explore other places’ policies and (perhaps most importantly) work together with community stakeholders to make sure the policy meets local needs, desires and concerns.
We created the Wizard to support our work on the What Works Cities initiative. Several of our partners — including Salinas, Calif. — have already made use of it.
We see this Wizard as a step toward our broader vision of democratic policymaking whereby citizens have tools that allow them to engage in the process more easily, and citizens, stakeholders and government officials have tools that allow for collaborative drafting of public policy.