The New York Times reports hospital cost data that some of the data recently published by the State Health Department is wrong, but that revelation is a big win for Open NY, and health.data.ny.gov. This is exactly what should happen when important government data sets are published and scrutinized by the press and experts. All big data sets contain errors, but the more eyeballs that are looking at that data, the faster those errors will be found and corrected; as a result, the data will become more accurate and useful. If no errors are being found, it means that open data is not being used, or that the interested public isn’t able to effectively re-use that data for analysis.
So hooray to the Governor’s Open NY and health.data.ny.gov initiatives for getting important data opened up and released to the public, where it can be used and improved. Here’s hoping for more reports of erroneous data in the months ahead. Data, like democracy, is imperfect: it takes an eternal and continuous effort to perfect them both.