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UK shows among Europe’s open data leaders

07/10/16

New Capgemini snapshot report indicates impressive progress all round, but says there is still resistance in some areas

The UK is emerging as one of Europe’s top performers in open data, in the leading group for the four main indicators, according to a new report from Capgemini Consulting.

The company, which runs the European Data Portal for the EU, has provided a snapshot of countries’ performance on readiness, promotion and portal maturity in its Open Data Maturity in Europe 2016 study.

It shows the UK was the joint top 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, with the other countries that have such a channel also appearing near the top of the table.

Britain was also third in the table for the proportion of visitors to its portal relative to country size, with a ranking of 0.25% of its inhabitants, behind the Netherlands with 0.3% and Romania with 0.5%.

It is a little off the lead in the rankings for the social, economic, political and efficiency impacts of open data, despite scoring 73%. A handful of other countries – Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ireland and Slovakia – all appear higher, and Spain is clear at the top with 92%.

On open data readiness, the UK records 79%, fourth behind Ireland, Finland and Spain, the latter having a top ranking of 91%.

All round progress

The indicators show there has been strong progress in most countries compared with the findings of the first report last year – in many cases their scores have more than doubled – and the report says more than half two-thirds of governments now have an open data policy.

In addition, the European Data Portal now has more than 640,000 datasets, over two and a half times the volume available at its launch in November of last year.

Dinand TinholtBut Dinand Tinholt (pictured), vice president and EU lead at Capgemini, said that while considerable progress has been made throughout Europe, there is still resistance in many areas of government that has to be overcome.

“To take advantage of open data and increase the volumes of data available, governments need to take action,” he said.

“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.”

Recommendations

The report advocates four main measures for making progress in the field:

  • Implement a data strategy that emphasise the importance of a legal structure and defines standards.
  • Add useful functions to open data portals, ensure they are easy to use and work on the quality of the data.
  • Increase awareness around open data.
  • Monitor the impact of related activities, notably evidence of the benefits.

Full report available here.

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