Open data is more than a fad, becoming a potentially very practical tool for everyone. In what aspects is the world changing by the open data and how is it possible to measure its scope and influence? We analyze it below.
The transformation capacity of society that has open data is reflected in all its facets. Public entities and companies, private companies and citizens can take advantage of the value offered by the opening of data for a permanent social evolution in various ways.
In order to measure in some way the level of impact that open data initiatives have, experts have developed analyzes that set out the essential factors for this purpose. In the following lines we will study the degree of influence of open data in our society, but not before stopping to study their current situation.
Status of open data
Before delving into the full potential of open data to establish a new panorama in society, let’s stop to visualize the current situation of data openness.
First, we can go to the Report on the Maturity of Open Data in Europe, prepared by Capgemini Invent for the European Open Data Portal. In this, 4 dimensions are measured: policies, portals, impact and quality.
The total maturity quantified by this study is 65%. If we disaggregate these results according to the aforementioned dimensions, we have policies with 82% maturity, portals with 63%, quality 62% and 50% impact.
As improvement measures, the report echoes the need to focus efforts on raising awareness of the relevance of open data and its reuse.
As a second source of information on the situation of open data, we have the Open Data Barometer, published by the World Wide Web Foundation, which focuses on the analysis of Open Data measures taken by the 30 governments that are fully committed in this aspect.
Among the positive aspects embodied in this study, it should be noted that two thirds of governments have made two-digit progress in more than five years and that more than one third has increased their rating by more than 50%.
Regarding the facets in which an improvement is needed, mention that less than 20% of the existing data sets are open. In addition, some countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States have taken steps backwards in the area of open data.
How the impact of open data is measured
To really know how open data is transforming our reality, we must establish certain parameters that serve to measure this impact. For this, it will be pertinent to resort to the GovLab analysis of the University of New York.
This analysis sets 5 useful factors to measure the level of impact of open data initiatives. These are: definition of the problem and demand, capacity and culture, governance, collaborations and risks.
Problem and demand definition
This requires an in-depth knowledge of the situation that gives rise to the need to create an open data initiative to solve it.
Here a detailed study of the users who are going to benefit from this initiative is required, as well as the causes that originate the need, the definition of the objectives, the way to address the problem and how the data will be audited.
Capacity and culture
Here the cultural, civil and institutional aspects that can be an impediment to the benefit of open data are considered.
At this level, aspects such as those related to software and hardware necessary for its development, human, economic and all kinds of resources, as well as variables related to the level of digital culture of the agents involved are considered.
This aspect includes actions such as performance evaluations and the risks associated with data privacy, default opening policies and free access to information, minimum quality requirements and responsiveness to changes that may occur between Users and their needs.
When we talk about collaborations we are referring to joint actions with institutions and individuals within the world of open data.
More specifically, for these collaborations we must take into account data managers, intermediaries, experts in the field of dealing with open data in particular, as well as many other agents in the open data field.
Finally, it is not negligible to contemplate everything related to the security of open data, to be more exact we can talk about what implies privacy, guaranteeing the anonymity and security of sensitive information.
In this section we must also mention as a risk those initiatives that open data that only seek to give a good image, without trying to offer greater benefits to society.
How are open data changing the world?
Continuing with the study of the GovLab of the University of New York, it reflects 4 essential aspects in which open data is changing the world: improving governments, empowering citizens, creating opportunities and solving public problems.
The improvement of governments
With the opening of data, governments clearly face a public audit by citizens, which will require full transparency and legality in their actions.
On the other hand, the results presented thanks to open data initiatives make the needs of the population better known, so that the provision of services for their satisfaction will be much more accurate and proportionate.
Thanks to the free availability of the information that brings open data, to which we must add new forms of communication, we have a much better informed society.
This population can make decisions strongly based on information, as well as decide new ways of mobilizing socially.
Creation of opportunities
Proper management and understanding of open data opens the door to greater innovation and growth of business initiatives, as companies can dispose and reuse this data to develop and market new products and services.
All this leads to economic growth of the productive apparatus of the region, as well as higher employment rates.
Resolution of public problems
This greater resolution capacity by citizens and public management organizations is the result of the development of policies to evaluate social problems thanks to the study of data.
For example, open data is useful in the management of health crises or those produced by natural or environmental disasters.
As we have been able to verify, the opening of data for consultation and analysis opens up endless opportunities for all types of institutions and people. From Ogoov, with our open data module we want to provide a simple, attractive, scalable and affordable solution to facilitate the deployment of open data initiatives to entities.