Once again, the European Union publishes its Open Data Maturity Report, which assesses the situation of data openness in 32 countries of the continent. Among them, Spain is in the lead, a reason to be proud. We draw the most relevant conclusions from this report.
For a few years now, the European Union has carried out a series of studies in order to verify the degree of maturity of the open data in its different countries. Specifically, the member countries plus those belonging to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are analyzed: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
This 2019 is the fifth report of these characteristics that is carried out and whose highlights we will analyze below, focusing especially on the excellent results obtained by Spain, which has become a reference in open data.
To carry out this report, the European Data Portal focused on 4 measurement criteria: policies, portals, impact and quality.
Policies: the strategies of the countries to promote the use of open data are analyzed, as well as the governance criteria. It also includes initiatives that encourage the participation of private entities, data collection methodologies and the training of professionals in the sector.
Portals: deals with everything related to the portal through which the open data repositories are accessed. Its advanced functions are studied, such as those focused on improving interaction with users, publishers and reusers, the variety of data and how the sustainability of the portal itself is guaranteed.
Impact: This criterion covers the actions taken to measure the level of re-use of open data. In addition 4 areas of action are included (political, social, environmental and economic).
Quality: here are included the techniques for the automatic collection of information, the accuracy of the data, the use of open data formats that make them reusable, machine readable and suitable for Linked Data and, finally, compliance with Metadata standards
Background: the 2018 report
To have a greater awareness of how 2019 has passed for Spain in the field of open data, nothing better than to resort to the 2018 Open Data Maturity Report and read it’s most relevant results.
In 2018, Spain achieved the second position in this ranking of the European Data Portal, with a total rating of 87%. The score obtained in each criterion was the following:
- Policies: 93%.
- Impact: 97%.
- Portals: 78%.
- Quality: 78%.
This 2018 report also mentions praiseworthy initiatives related to linked data and re-use, as well as barriers related to the lack of homogenization and the few actions taken to favor availability and higher quality.
Results of the Open Data Maturity Report 2019
Returning to the present, we will review the results of this year’s report.
Broadly speaking, the 2019 report highlights that, after years of accelerated growth, Europe is in a consolidation stage. This is explained as a consequence of the fact that the countries studied already have solid structures developed in recent times, so they now focus on facing larger challenges.
There is also a trend towards data quality, rather than publishing large amounts of data regardless of whether they are really valuable. Currently, we are looking to publish high impact data that meets the needs of reusers.
Another aspect highlighted by the authors is the greater awareness of the importance of exchanging data between governments. Here we must take into account factors related to the legality and privacy of information.
The most prominent figures
Next, we will summarize the most relevant quantitative variables when it comes to knowing the level of maturity of the open data in Europe.
The average score of the 32 countries studied is 66%, only 1% above the 2018 rating. If we break it down by the 4 measurement criteria, we obtain:
- Policies: 74%.
- Impact: 57%.
- Portals: 67%.
- Quality: 65%.
20 countries are above the European average and the other 12 are below.
The leading countries are Ireland, Spain and France, in this order, which form the group called Trend-Setters.
The next group, the Fast-Trackers, is made up of 8 countries, when 2018 was 16.
The results of Spain
In the case of our country, the open data maturity index is 90%, growing by 3 percentage points compared to the previous year. By criteria, the results are:
- Policies: 90% (-3% compared to 2018).
- Impact: 89% (-8% compared to 2018).
- Portals: 100% (+ 22% compared to 2018).
- Quality: 77% (-1% compared to 2018).
The report highlights initiatives such as the Spanish data portal data.gob.es, in which open data requests are collected, including their situation.
Actions are also recognized such as the Castilla y León Open Data Contest and the Barcelona Open Data Challenge, both aimed at promoting re-use, and as the International Conference about Re-use, organized by the Multisectoral Information Association (ASEDIE, by its acronym in Spanish).
Recommendations for improvement
The report also gives some advice for all the countries involved to improve their results from now on. These recommendations are structured according to the different groups of established countries. For the group in Spain, these are:
- Develop an ecosystem of data sorted by subject. Themes that have been defined in the Directive on open data and the re-use of public sector information.
- Promote policies that show the value of data re-uses in the public sector.
- Define a strategy to ensure the sustainability of open data portals.
- Establish commitments with universities and research centers to develop specific metrics to measure the impact of open data.
- Guide research to measure the economic impact of open data, at macro and microeconomic levels.
- Allow users to rate and comment on data sets, in order to improve them.
- Continue to improve the quality of data and metadata through the use of appropriate tools within the portals.
- Promote the use of real-time data.
- Participate in the development of courses and advanced training programs.
- Share the results of research with other countries in order for this collaboration to crystallize in a global improvement.
Spain enjoys excellent health in open data, being an example to follow for the vast majority of European countries. Even so, there is always room for improvement that we should not neglect, always focusing on continuous improvement.
To contribute to this progress in data opening, from Viafirma we offer OGoov, our Open Government Platform, which includes a very complete Open Data module, which allows deploying a portal in a very short time, personalized, adjusted to the regulations and with automated data collection capability. OGoov also has Transparency and Citizen Participation modules for more complete Open Government initiatives.