The War on Data


This column made its debut with an examination of the need for the maximum possible openness in both data and analytic methods. The focus there was on researchers making their data available so results could be replicated and, perhaps more importantly, so new approaches and techniques could be applied, possibly leading to new findings and fresh perspectives.

The value of shared data reaches its logical extreme in high-quality, publicly available databases such as those maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau. These sources do not just support an extraordinary amount of research; they help individuals and institutions make better decisions and give us a set of agreed-upon facts that help keep our discussion honest and productive. For all these reasons, recent threats to publicly available data are cause for concern.

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