We have previously talked about the importance of open data, that is why we believe it is important to know what their status is within the European Union and in what position the member countries are. Next, we are going to analyze the fourth edition of the report on the maturity of open data in the European Union in 2018, published by the European Data Portal
As last year, we stop to analyze and reflect on the situation of Open Data in the European Union, what progress has been made during 2018 and what challenges remain to be overcome in the present 2019. For this, we turn once again to the European Data Portal (EDP) and the fourth edition of its annual report on the maturity of open data.
In order to give even greater importance to open data, this year’s report has been updated and new parameters (impact and quality) have been included, offering a more complex and accurate analysis of the reality in all the member countries of the European Union and at all its levels: local, regional and national.
This report also seeks to convince skeptics of the potential of open data, demonstrating the positive effects they have, drawing an image that is closer to current reality. In summary, the indicators included in this last report are policies, portals, impact and quality.
A multi-speed European Union
In 2019, we still find a European Union with several speeds, with some countries more committed than others in relation to the opening of data. Even so, the first conclusions are positive, as can be seen in the report’s indicators. In it we can see that maturity has already been reached in terms of policies, with a level of 82% in the 28 countries of the EU.
The least advanced countries in this aspect are investing money in the modernization of their national portals, while the countries at the forefront are enhancing the quality of these data already published. The latter have focused this last year on the impact derived from open data, carrying out measurement and monitoring activities.
The second dimension measured by the EDP is the maturity of the open data portals, whose average stands at 63%. A third of the countries have reached maturity in this regard, while two thirds still have room to improve.
Regarding the quality indicator of published open data, the level is 62%, highlighting a slow progress rate. Only seven of the ten countries with the best performance in the EU achieved a score above 75%.
The worst results obtained by the analyzed countries is in the dimension of the impact that open data have, placing themselves at a mere approved: 50%. This is the most evident proof that shows that there is still a significant room for improvement among the Member States of the European Union. Therefore, the average of these four indicators results in a general maturity level of 65%.
The report concludes, in view of the modest results, of the need for greater strategic action in order to increase awareness of the important role played by open data and the development of an approach that monitors and measures the impact of its use.
In the analysis by countries, classified by levels (beginners, followers, advanced and trend creators), it is where the heterogeneity of the different countries of the European Union is perceived. At the top of the table, there are only five countries: Ireland, Spain, France, Italy and Cyprus.
While highlighting the great qualitative leap that Cyprus has made in this last year, the number of trend creators has been significantly reduce. In the previous report, were fourteen countries in that group, compared to the five that are now in it. That is why the group of the advanced has visibly grown to reach the sixteen countries.
In general, the scores of most countries have remained stable, without major changes, except for some countries that have suffered some significant drops. This, as stated in the report, can be attributed to the reduction of the priority of open data in the national policies of these countries.
Spain at the head of open data in the European Union
As we have seen before, Spain is in second place in the general classification, maintaining the good figures of previous years. To know a little better this result, these are the scores reached by our country in each of the sections: policies (93%), impact (97%), portals (78%) and quality (78%).
The report highlights as one of the best practices the work carried out by the National Library with Linked Data. Every day 16,500 pages are digitized, resulting in more than 35 million pages archived among all types of documents (books, newspapers, maps, manuscripts, drawings, etc.). Another of the best practices highlighted is the activity carried out by the Meteogrid Company in favor of the reuse of data, in this case of meteorological nature.
On the other hand, we also talk about certain technical barriers to the publication of open data, referring to a 2016 study in which 70% of companies indicated that the biggest obstacle they encountered was the lack of information homogenization.
Despite the greater importance that has been given in recent years to the need for open data, in practice not enough changes have been made from the point of view of their availability or quality, according to the report.
In short, the current situation of open data in the European Union is positive, but it is necessary to continue efforts to achieve maturity in all countries and not allow positive policies to be abandoned for their development.
It is worth noting the significant reduction of the group of trend creators, although, fortunately, Spain is among them, maintaining its second position behind Ireland. Although this is good news for the country, you cannot stop promoting open data, as there are indicators (especially portals and quality) where there is still much to be done.