Report on the maturity of Open Data in the European Union in 2017

Shortly before the end of the year, we already know the results of the study on the maturity of Open Data in the European Union. We analyze in what general situation the continent is and where is Spain in this Open Data map. Will we have reasons to celebrate this Christmas?

The European Data Portal (EDP) has published the third report of a series of annual studies that analyzes and explores the level of maturity of open data within the European Union.

What is the current status of Open Data in the European Union?

The results of the report not only reveal that the governments of the countries member of the European Union have prioritized open data in 2017, but that they are in a race towards excellence. Most countries have shown that they have a solid understanding of the impact of open data on the information economy.

The study classifies the countries member of the maturity of the implementation of the open data in four large groups beginners, followers, advanced and trend creators. The numbers of countries of the last group, the trend creators, have almost doubled when comparing it to last year, going from eight to fourteen.

All countries have been evaluated in terms of open data availability, evaluating the scope of their open data policies, as well as in terms of the maturity of their open data portal. In 2015 only 44.2% had completed the journey towards the maturity of their open data, while in the present year they have reached 72.5%, an undoubtedly considerable increase for a period of only two years.

In the indicator that evaluates the preparation for the open data, there is a special increase going up from 59% last year to 72% in 2017. At the same time, within the sub-indicators of preparation for the open data stands out the License rules with 89% and National Coordination with 87%.

As for the maturity of the portal, it reaches to 72% this year against 64% from the previous one, the most prominent advance is that of the indicator of data dissemination between domains, with an increase of eleven percentage points and makes it reach 90%, the best sub-indicator of the table. The reuse of the data remains in second place with 77% and, finally, the usability remains at a discrete 68% with a very small increase.

The report concludes with a series of recommendations to guide the people in charge of taking the decision and owners of open data portals towards the development of a  sustainable vision  for the transformation of open data. This vision is necessary to include open data within a larger plan for the digital transformation of the public sector.

In what position is Spain?

Within the classification established by the open data portal (EDP), Spain is at the top, within the group of trend creators with Ireland, Holland, France and Finland (among others), although this year it falls to second place behind Ireland but only 15 points (over 1500).

The open data portal of Spain was launched in 2009 and 153 local or regional initiatives have been identified. Within the barometer of open data, Spain is in the thirteenth position, taking into account a series of indicators such as government action, state policies, and impact on the economy or civil rights.

Spain takes the maximum barometer score in the political, social and economic impact of its open data. In the political sector, since 2015, activities have been carried out to monitor its impact and demonstrate that it has an efficiency and transparency with a high impact.

Open Data in the European Union

Maturity of the portal in EU28, 2017 (%, Averaged results) (Source: https://www.europeandataportal.eu/)

The study also highlights some barriers that still find open data in Spain. There is little knowledge on the subject and there have not been enough changes to increase the availability and quality of them. They recommend to the public administration that they make available to users the possibility of their massive download.

Yes, measures have been taken in old barriers, such as technical and legal. To do this, the Royal Decree has been updated to improve the legal framework and fit open data correctly. The Government has also improved the promotion by developing various challenges, hackathons and round tables to reduce the gap between supply and demand

The most important changes observed in this 2017 have been:

  • The Presence of an open data policy has decreased slightly, mainly due to a slight decrease in licensing regulations and because the focus on how to open data has not changed since mid-2016.
  • The use of open data has increased slightly, since a higher percentage of data sets is now readable by a machine, a higher percentage of foreigners visit the portal and because the proportion of traffic to the portal is now monitored.
  • The impact of open data has reached full maturity in the 3 sub-indices.

The steps indicated by the portal that Spain must provide in the near future are the following:

  • A new update of the Royal Decree on the Reuse of Public Sector Information to reinforce the coordination and effective publication of open data.
  • The qualitative enrichment of the National Catalog of Open Data.
  • Improve public-private collaboration in the form of collaborations and dialogue.
  • Betting on semantic interoperability through local initiatives on Open Data.

The publication of the report on the maturity of Open Data in the European Union is a very good way to end the year thanks to its positive result for the whole continent and especially for Spain. Our country remains at the top in terms of its relationship with Open Data, although that does not mean there are still challenges and measures to be taken to continue growing in this regard.