JUL 10, 2020 11:34 PM PDT

Why the Law Needs Open Access Data?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Researchers at Northwestern University believe that a fair justice system needs open access data that is not hidden behind a paywall. Not having barriers when accessing U.S. court documents and promoting transparency creates a just society. With open access data, researchers can systemically study and evaluate the U.S. justice that will ultimately improve societies.   

"In principle, litigation is supposed to be open to the public," said Northwestern data scientist Luís A. Nunes Amaral. "In reality, the lack of access to court records seemingly undercuts any claim that the courts are truly 'open.'"

As such, new data published in Science discusses how artificial intelligence (A.I) platforms can provide users with easy access to information regardless of data and analytical skills.

"The problem with court data is the same problem with a lot of datasets," Hammond said. "The data cost money, and the technical skills to use them cost money. That means very few people have access -- not just to the data -- but the information that we all need that's hidden inside of it."

Learn more about open access data:

"We really can ask the broadest questions," Amaral said. "The ultimate goal is to ask if the court system is acting fairly."

"If all judges reviewed fee waiver applications under the same standard, then grant rates should not systematically differ within districts," the authors wrote. "We find, however, that they do."

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
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