Yelp, a local business review site, has released an updated API which increases the number of data calls to 25,000 per day, a big switch from an earlier 100 cap.
And it's free. Why the change of heart? They have been burned in the past, notably by Google, which used Yelp review content without attributing it. but they seem to no longer be afraid a competitor will scrape its data and grow larger.
Open data is a fundamental tenet of Science 2.0, of course. And journals have somewhat sporadically begun to require but not require data. The same week that I wrote about peer review in the Wall Street Journal and lauded the Public Library of Science for requiring data they violated their own policy, seemingly because the editor liked the message the paper was sending. For social science papers, that kind of open access editorial review is fine but for science we need real peer review and that means data. In the WSJ piece I highlighted PNAS because its brand is prestigious and when it has allowed non-peer-reviewed papers to be published and they have become political footballs, the cost to taxpayers (in both money and the time of government scientists) is substantial.
So open data needs some work. There is proof of concept. Physicists pioneered the use of preprints, they don't seem to be worried about competitors stealing credit for the Higgs boson. And climate science data is often available. Yelp needed to get big enough that they were everywhere and a company like Google could not exploit them and ruin their business - that has now happened. And open data will become common in science also.
To fight Google and Foursquare, Yelp frees its data by Eric Blattberg, VentureBeat
Image: Ed Kwon/Flickr via VentureBeat