On Thursday 30 January 2020, the European Data Portal (EDP) published their latest study titled: High-value datasets: understanding the perspective of data providers . This article is a sneak peek into the study.
High-value datasets: understanding the perspective of data providers
Making data available as open data across the EU Member States is vital to leverage its potential for the European society and economy, for example, to enrich research, inform decision making, or develop new products and services. The impact of open data is mainly realised through application and depends on factors like costs, quality of the data and its documentation, or the modality of access. To further increase the impact of open data and reduce market entry barriers for start-ups and SMEs, these factors need to be addressed. To do that most effectively, efforts should target those datasets that have the biggest potential for society and the economy.
In the Directive on open data and the re-use of public sector information, also known as the Open Data Directive (Directive (EU) 2019/1024), the European Commission is tasked to adopt an implementing act specifying high-value datasets (HVDs) that organisations in the scope of the Directive will have to make available free of charge, in machine-readable format and via APIs, and, where relevant, as a bulk download .
Defining the value of specific datasets, however, is very complex. The perspective and role of data providers in the Member States are instrumental in the process of specifying and implementing HVDs. The report reviews relevant literature, political decisions, and national initiatives to allow for a deeper understanding of the current status around value assessment of datasets. Findings from interviews with selected open data providers from different Member States provide insights into different perceptions and expectations around HVDs. The findings raise several vital aspects, challenges, and questions, for example:
- The value of datasets depends on the point of view, the specification and (geographical, sectoral) scope of impact. The impact created by open data should benefit SMEs and enable cross-border applications.
- Dataset download statistics are often used, but are not sufficient, to assess their value and potential impact. However, there is no clarity on any other standardised base for value assessment.
- Roles and responsibilities in the process of specifying, implementing, and maintaining HVDs are often not clear nor supported by a mandate or designated resources.
- Reaching understanding and consistency in and across the Member States while allowing for differences in local political, cultural, and ethical background.
The report concludes with six key recommendations:
- Create intrinsic and extrinsic incentives for data providers to engage in the process.
- Set clear expectations around roles, responsibilities, and resources.
- Standardise HVDs assessment and specifications across borders.
- Provide expert guidance that supports a consistent process and is mindful of differences in language, culture, politics, and perceptions of impact.
- Work in iterative rounds to reach alignment and mutual consent.
- Involve relevant stakeholders from the full scope of impact, to reach meaningful and feasible results.