Publication of Literature Review: Rethinking the impact of open data |
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Publication of Literature Review: Rethinking the impact of open data

Addressing the gaps in open data impact assessment literature and methodologies

The recent publication by, Rethinking the impact of open data, is the first step in the process of defining the methodology for a pan-European study on the impact of open data. The report, first in a series of four, provides an overview of the existing literature on the impact of open data, focusing on the use of open data portals, intermediaries and automated tools.

Given the extent of open data availability, impact assessments often have a narrowly defined scope or explore the impact of existing open data frameworks, such as the Open Data Maturity (ODM) and Open Data Barometer (ODB). Apart from these exceptions, measuring the impact of open data is challenging as it is difficult to determine the specific areas that require assessment. Consequently, the objective is to evaluate all the related impact that is created with open data.

The report defines two main challenges in assessing the impact of open data. First is the disconnect between the ways in which open data impact is defined and how the European Commission conducts impact analysis. The second is that the impact indicators of open data portals and proposed indicators for open data intermediaries largely rely on proxies for impact measurement, such as a use case repository or user statistics. They provide an indication of the impact, but the precise way in which impact is generated remains unclear. Therefore, the main challenge ahead is to provide one way of defining open data impact in Europe and find ways to obtain genuine insights about open data by connecting data to actual impact domains.

To tackle this challenge, future reports in this series will further explore how to better align existing frameworks, such as the ODM, with these critically important guidelines. is committed to open data research. To learn more about open data (impact), it regularly offers a series of services, such as a course on ‘open data impact’ and reports such as ‘The Economic Impact of Open Data to improve data literacy’. Furthermore, there is the Use Case Observatory to learn more about open data impact.

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