Governments are used to being the authoritative source of data and access to the data is typically (heavily) regulated. When one starts to talk about opening up data with governments, many alarms go off: privacy, security, confidentiality, loss of control, and quality among others. I find there are a strong sense of ownership and a fear of opening up - probably due to all these concerns.
Furthermore, it is often not within the formal mission of a government ministry, agency or department to provide access to data. That is why open data can often be seen as a distant, not interesting and not easily understandable problem.
Breaking down such resistance can be done via top-down mandate (as has happened in several cases) but, whilst top-down support is clearly useful, it is not enough. A successful shift in culture needs to be built at all levels of government, and this needs time, sensitivity, respect and, frankly savoir faire.
Governments must understand that placing information on the Web solely as an informative resource, although important and required by policies in many cases, is not enough anymore. Citizens and civil societies are asking for access to the raw data so that they can use it in new and valuable ways.
Via Irina Radchenko