Both individuals and organisations face a world that is increasingly ruled by data. As Rok Žontar has previously written in the article World of data: where the faster beat the bigger, we are encountering more and more data from many different sources, mainly due to digitalisation.
processing and analysing this mountain of data, we must pay special attention
to the accuracy and transparency of that data. In recent years, there have been
many disputes between the public and other types of organisations that have
been suspected of reaching too deeply into personal data.
where the so-called open data comes in. We will almost certainly not reduce the
amount of data in the future, so the best alternative is to make this data open
to everyone and, therefore, transparent and verifiable.
What does the term “open data” mean? The European Commission describes open data as data that anyone can access, reuse, and share. Governments, businesses, and individuals can use such data to achieve social, economic, and environmental benefits.
It is essential
to understand that open data becomes valuable when available in a common,
machine-readable, and understandable format. In addition, data must also be
licensed. However, the license must allow people to use the data in any way,
including transforming, combining and sharing it with others, including for
commercial means. If the data is licensed strictly for non-commercial purposes,
it is no longer open.
.One of the features of open data is that it must be free. However, this does not mean that access to it must be free. The data collection and publication of useful data and database maintenance can be a cost based on which we may be charged for access.
cases, however, these fees are negligible, as, in principle, they should not be
higher than the actual cost of maintaining and reproducing specific amounts of
mentioned, open data can bring considerable benefits to businesses, governments,
and companies if used correctly. In the case of public services, it can help
with transparency, as the government can thus provide evidence that its budget
has been spent appropriately to achieve established goals.
SE, headquartered in Paris, is a multinational information technology (IT)
services and consulting company. At the end of last year, they surveyed the
level of open data maturity across European countries.
Member States, improvements were recorded in 2021 across all four open data
assessment dimensions – policy, impact, portal, and quality – with an overall
maturity score of 81%, an increase of 3 percentage points from the 2020
were divided into four groups: “Beginners”, “Followers”, “Fast-trackers”, and
“Trend-setters”. In 2005, 63 per cent of European members were labelled
“Beginners”, while no country could be classified as a “Trend-setter”. These
figures have changed significantly. As early as 2015, 31 per cent of countries
were labelled as “Trend-setters”, while only 19 per cent were still
currently Europe’s most mature open data nation, with a score of 97.5%. Also
noteworthy is the peak performance among countries outside the European Union.
For example, Norway jumped from beginner to fast-tracker, and Ukraine became a
trend-setter in 2021.
European Open Data Directive
In 2019, the European Parliament adopted a directive on “open data and the re-use of public sector information”, widely known as the PSI directive a vital part of the European Union’s legal framework and controls open data and their re-use.
Capgemini, they found that several Member States had already completed or were
in the process of transposing the directive into their national laws.
explained by the European Commission, the new rules stimulate the publishing of
dynamic data and the uptake of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs),
regulate “legal loopholes” that currently allow public bodies to
charge more than the marginal costs of dissemination for the re-use of their
data and strengthen the transparency requirements for public-private agreements
involving public sector information, avoiding exclusive arrangements.
the creation of impact with the help of open data can be considered the
ultimate goal of open data efforts across Europe”, said Laura van Knippenberg, a
researcher at Capgemini Invent and co-author of the Open Data Maturity Report.
“We want to
have the right policies in place, advanced portals available to find data and
foster interaction between publishers and re-users, and we want this data to be
of such a quality that re-use is made easier so that in the end, impact – whether
social, economic or environmental – can be created.”
The official portal for
In the spring of 2021, a special portal (Data.europa.eu) was launched within the European Union to collect and review all European open data.
The principal function of the European Data Portal is to provide a single point of access for public data sources across Europe, representing more than a million data sets from 36 countries, 6 European institutions and 79 other EU bodies and agencies.
It also seeks to support European institutions and Member States in setting up national open data portals, training, and consultancy to improve, sustain, and document data publishing practices.
Open Data is all around us
generated by the public sector is a public good, said Peter Geršak, State
Secretary at the Ministry of Public Administration, at the event entitled
“Open Data Day 2022: With the effective use of open data to greater
innovation”, organised in March by the Open Data Hub of Slovenia (OPSI
Hub) together with partners Technology Park Ljubljana d.o.o., Chamber of
Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, Ministry of Public Administration, and the
Office of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for Digital Transformation.
It is imperative
to recognise the value of open data, as it is found all around us, and its
re-use contributes to broader societal goals, transparency, and success.
event, Barbara Rovere, a researcher at the Faculty of Economics, explained that
we know two types of open data: public data and research data. Research data is
mainly dealt with by scientists, who obtain it from a multitude of data sources
in the form of numerical data, texts, laboratory notes, and the like.
touched upon whether, given their usefulness, all types of research data are suitable
for opening. Problems arise when it comes to protecting privacy or national
security. She said, however, that regardless of concerns, opening research data
is essential as funding sources and scientific research require it.
examples of Open Data
In the end,
however, even such a great idea does not come in handy if we cannot practically
prove its usefulness.
already mentioned the European Open Data Portal. With a few clicks, we can find
data from various fields, such as economics and finance, culture and education,
energy, environment, health, transport, and many others.
Another open database is run by the World Health Organization, where we can monitor health statistics from all 194 Member States.
on the needs, we can look through datasets by topics, categories, indicators
and countries. The desired data can then be transferred into Excel, and APIs
are also available within the database.
At the event
mentioned above, Matevž Pesek, from the Faculty of Computer and Information
Science, Ljubljana, presented the tocen.si application, with the help of which
we can quickly find a free parking lot, bus schedule, or location for picking
up a car enrolled in “carsharing”. The application therefore combines and uses
publicly available open data.
presented the services of the company Arvio, where they exclusively use open
real estate and spatial data to develop products and services in real estate
and the energy industry. With open data, they can reach a full range of
information solutions and services to support real estate professionals
throughout their business.
Never in history has there been such an amount of Open Data as there is today. Individuals, organisations, businesses, and national and local authorities must make full use of this to progress and improve our quality of life.
Author: Marko Želko
Keywords: Open Data, research, European Data Portal, EU Directive
article is part of joint project of the Wilfried Martens Centre for European
Studies and the Anton Korošec Institute (INAK) Following the path of
digitalization in Slovenia and Europe. This project receives funding from the
and views set out in this article are those of the author and do not
necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union
institutions/Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies/ Anton Korošec
Institute. Organizations mentioned above assume no responsibility for facts or
opinions expressed in this article or any subsequent use of the information