Discover the periodic table of the open data factors |
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Discover the periodic table of the open data factors

The GovLab´s enabling and disabling factors for the impact of open data initiatives

Based on existing literature and case studies, the GovLab has developed a Periodic Table of Open Data Elements. In the same way the Mendeleev´s periodic table describes the most important characteristics of chemical elements, the GovLab´s table depicts all enabling and disabling factors of open data initiatives´ impact.

More specifically, the table clusters open data enabling and disabling elements along five central categories, which are likely to either facilitate or disrupt the success of open data projects when replicated across countries. These categories are:

  1. Problem and Demand Definition: Having a clear understanding of the problem to be addressed by open data – from identifying the intended audience to addressing the real causes rather than the symptoms of the problem. This is essential to define an open data strategy and use resources efficiently.
  2. Capacity and Culture: Being aware of the challenges that a lack of available resources, insufficient human capital and immature technological capabilities can create, both within a country´s open data ecosystem and on the demand side, i.e., among actors using open data and donor organisations funding them.
  3. Governance: Realising how different governing decisions at ecosystem or demand level can negatively affect the impact of open data initiatives. These governance issues can relate to standards and policies of data release, as well as risk mitigation and impact assessment.
  4. Partnerships: Unlocking the potential of collaboration by creating touchpoints with civil society, informing citizens through media partnerships, and/or striking partnerships across sectors.
  5. Risks: Mapping out risks associated with open data, such as privacy concerns, data security, and power asymmetries, as key step to design initiatives able to overcome and/or mitigate those risks.

In summary, the Periodic Table of Open Data Elements provides a good summary of all major issues that open data practitioners should consider when developing strategies for release and use of open data. The elements are adjusted according to emerging practices and are conceived to address the needs of a variety of stakeholders.

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