Study shows UK is moving closer to reaping the benefits of Open Data

Data

Capgemini Consulting, the global strategy and transformation consulting arm of the Capgemini Group, has published a new report on the state of play of Open Data in Europe.

The report Open Data Maturity in Europe 2016: Insights into the European state of play reveals that 81% of European countries now have a dedicated Open Data policy, which is a large increase compared to 69% in 2015. Countries are also enhancing their data portals leading to an overall portal maturity score of 64.3% compared to 41.7% in 2015. The report was requested by the European Commission within the context of the European Data Portal coordinated by Capgemini.

The new report offers a snapshot of where countries stand in making data available, through the assessment of Open Data readiness, promotion and Open Data portal maturity. It also offers comparison across countries enabling learning to accelerate developments.

The study shows that in 2016, on average, with a 28.6% increase in comparison to 2015, the EU28+ countries completed 57% of their Open Data journey in reaching full Open Data implementation. While in 2015 less than two-thirds of the EU28+ countries (59%) had integrated a dedicated Open Data policy, in 2016, this has increased to just over two-thirds, namely 68%.

Countries are also investing in understanding the impact of Open Data for their economy and society via the launch of a number of studies and interactions with civil society. The level of Portal Maturity increased by 22.6 percentage points from 41.7% to 64.3% thanks to the development of more advanced features on country data portals.

 

UK performance

The report paints a positive picture of the UK’s open data performance. In fact, the UK was the top ranked performer in the use of open data in 2015, on a par with Finland at 83% in the study’s scoring method. The existence of data.gov.uk as a national portal for public sector data is a significant factor in its high ranking, the study says.

Britain was third in the table for the proportion of visitors to its portal relative to country size and, when it comes to open data readiness, it was ranked fourth with a score of 79%, behind Ireland, Finalnd and Spain.

However,  when it comes to social, economic, political and efficiency impacts of open data, more work needs to be done. Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ireland and Slovakia all rank higher, with Spain leading the way.

 

Data portals

Data portals offer different data formats, download functionalities, are carrying increasing amounts of data and witnessing more user traffic. The European Data Portal, referencing the data from all national portals since November 2015, now has close to 640,000 datasets, over two and a half times the volume of data made available at its launch.

In 2016, over half of the EU28+ countries are considered fast trackers and trend setters by having both robust Open Data policies in place and advanced Open Data portals, including clear engagement strategies to raise awareness around Open Data.

Dinand Tinholt, VP and EU lead at Capgemini, said: “It is crucial for countries to keep moving forward with their Open Data agendas. To take advantage of Open Data and increase the volumes of data available, governments need to take action. We’re reaching a tipping point. Countries are completing the harvesting of low hanging fruit and have published data that was already available and of acceptable quality.

“This data is now available in one single place, on the country’s data portal. Data quality and increasing the availability of data in machine readable formats is also something countries are now focusing more effort on. European governments are waking up to the importance of Open Data to improve everything from city planning and transportation to pollution levels and emergency services. However, some public administrations still jealously guard their data to sell it, or are secretive and refrain from sharing with others. All governments need to realise the fact that the usefulness of data grows exponentially when it is shared and used by all.”

 

Recommendations

The report concludes by providing a series of recommendations addressed to policy makers and the departments responsible for Open Data policies. To help countries secure their progress and reach full levels of maturity in reaping the benefits of open data they should

  • Finalise implementing their Open Data strategy, emphasising the importance of a legal structure addressing both licensing, privacy aspects as well as standards
  • Develop automated processes to collect data from public administrations and focus on consistent and coherent metadata quality

Further analysis can be found here.

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