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UK in second group for open data maturity in EU


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The UK has come out in the second ranking group of countries for the maturity of its public sector open data, according to the new report on the issue by Capgemini Invent.

The consultancy, which leads the consortium running the Open Data Portal for the European Commission, has placed the UK in the ‘fast trackers’ group with a maturity score of 71%.

This places it 11th from the 31 countries contributing to the portal, significantly behind the five ‘trend setters’ – Ireland, Spain, France, Italy and Cyprus – all of which score 80% or above.

Generally the UK scores better on policy than for impact or the quality of its open data on the EU portal.  

Among the barriers identified in the report are that the licensing of datasets is not always clearly display or understandable, and that publishers do not always understand if they should be publishing to the data portal or the general GOV.UK site.

But there are examples of best practice in the UK, such as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ free data analytics services, and how the Citymapper app re-uses data from Transport for London.

Unfulfilled potential

On an EU-wide scale, the report – Open Data Maturity in Europe – says member states are not yet reaching their full potential with an average maturity score of 65%.

The assessment of the four dimensions – policy, portal, impact and quality – shows a mixed picture, with very good progress in areas such as the policy dimension but action needed in others.

In terms of policy maturity, an overall rating of 82% was achieved, indicating that member states have developed a solid foundation for open data frameworks. In the top performing countries the focus is now on monitoring and capturing the impact derived from the re-use of open data, the report says.

Dinand Tinholt (pictured), vice president and EU lead at Capgemini Invent, said: “The EU countries needs to step up the game in order to reap the expected benefits from open data.

“Targeting certain priority domains to capture and demonstrate the impact will be key. Incentivising high quality data publication and understanding how to maximize the re-use of open data will also be pivotal to capturing impact in these domains.”    

Among the features of the report is that comes in fifth in the top 20 catalogues with highest volume datasets with known licences, scoring 79%; but this is marginally behind the London Datastore with 81%

The European Data Portal itself tops this category with 100%.

Need for action

The report concludes by emphasising the need for more strategic action to enable faster progress at a national level and the urgency to develop a strategic awareness around open data re-use and impact. Demonstrating such impact will remain the main challenge for national open data decision makers.

At the same time, demonstrating impact remains pivotal to sustaining the required political leadership, enabling further data publication and the fostering of a more intense reuse of available data.      

The report was compiled using an updated methodology with two new dimensions: impact and data quality.

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