Bruce Charlton (blogger identity BGC), writing in the science journal Medical Hypotheses, mentions a subsection of the Steveosphere, referred to as "quant bloggers". He singles out a few of us specifically--the GNXP crew, Half Sigma, and the Inductivist presumably for their needed "analysis and integration of [professionally gathered] data, for understanding its implications, and for speculating freely about the potential applications," and your correspondent for "chatty ‘opinion’ pieces".
The editorial is primarily concerned with the contemporary breakdown of the scientific Socratic method, with high status scientists no longer required to substantively defend their findings, address critics, or provide the underlying data employed to reach the conclusions they come to.
Quant bloggers come into play as a welcomed contrast to the new High Science. Quant bloggers, via their comment sections, are greeted with publicly viewable refutations, critiques, and suggestions from readers immediately upon publication. The data, if not presented in the body of the post or via links to the source, are available by request*.
It would be optimal to have professionals earning a living through the work undertaking what quant bloggers are currently doing. As BGC points out, however, the cultural climate doesn't permit it. If Steve struggles to keep his journalistic work economically viable, no one outside the protection of academic tenure is going to be able to pull it off.
So we'll make due with what we have. The best data sources are those able to be used for analyses unrelated to what the collector originally had in mind. Pew Research, for example, is an invaluable source not for the offered commentary accompanying the data (which I tend to skim) but for the raw numbers it consistenly makes available.
* If the Excel file I'm using lends itself to it, I make the numbers available via Swivel. If it exists online, I always link to the data source as well. And I have always and will continue to always make the data I'm using available to anyone who is interested in it. Just shoot me an email and it's on the way.