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Open data advocacy playbook

If you have experience in this area, reach out! We could use your help building resources for transparency advocates.

How to advocate for open data where you live

This work is multidisciplinary—if you have data skills, or want to learn, you can positively impact your local systems by becoming an expert on your local data, and pushing for more to be published.
  1. 1.
    Identify transparency allies and people already using data about police systems.
This could be city council members, journalists, activists, public defenders, researchers, neighboring police chiefs, or residents with a question to answer. Join our Discord to find other people doing similar work.
  1. 2.
    Find out what kind of data would be topical/useful.
A community can have different priorities at any given time—is everyone talking about traffic stop policy? Would better access to court case data answer several questions at once?
  1. 3.
    Find out where local data could be improved.
Is anything missing, like properties that would make the data more useful? Are there records which should be published, but aren't? You can use our database to help keep track—make a search or submit data sources.
  1. 4.
    Uncover reasons why data is not currently published
Publishing data requires time, money, and expertise. Understanding opposition to open data will help sharpen your strategy, and help your local government to be more transparent. Is someone already responsible for open data where you live? Their perspective is invaluable.
  1. 5.
    Challenge barriers to open data
This could involve making a FOIA request, writing a web scraper, or including language about open data in legislation.
  • Do any other agencies publish data like this? If they can do it in neighboring town, why not here?
  • Does your town already have an open data ordinance which requires publishing this data?
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