The University of Southampton

Leading the debate on open data

Published: 8 March 2013

The University of Southampton’s Head of the Web and Internet Science Group (WAIS) and co-founder of the Open Data Institute, Professor Nigel Shadbolt, will be a key speaker at the British Library’s Inspiring Science events.

Nigel will lead a lively TalkScience discussion entitled Open Data: What’s the Use? exploring the potential of open data and looking at what the open data revolution means for today’s society.

With the UK government, research councils, businesses and private individuals all releasing their data into the public domain he will highlight what the key drivers and enablers of open data are, and what barriers must be overcome to make the most of this new wealth of information.

At the talk on 19 March he will also discuss:

• What is open data and what is its potential for scientific research and innovation? • What are the economic, social and legal considerations for open data and do they matter? • What will motivate organisations and individuals to make their data available for all to use? • What are the areas where open data is already making an impact?

Nigel is Professor of Artificial Intelligence in Electronics and Computer Science. He is an advisor to the Prime Minister, helping to transform public access to UK government information resulting in the widely acclaimed website that allows people to view public information, with the ability to combine different threads of data and analyse them in innovative ways. He is also co-founder and Chairman of the Open Data Institute that was launched last year to help the public sector use its own data more effectively and develop the capability of UK businesses to exploit the commercial value of open data.

His debate is part of the Inspiring Science event organised by the British Library. Running from 11-24 March, Inspiring Science is a series of events and activities that celebrates science and scientists. The programme is aimed at anyone with an interest in science and visitors can explore the Library’s collections and spaces to share the excitement surrounding scientific discovery, ideas and information.

To find out more about Inspiring Science and Nigel’s talk go to

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