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Best Practice: Establish an Open Data Ecosystem

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This is one of a set of Best Practices for implementing the (Revised) PSI Directive developed by the .

Creative Commons Licence Share-PSI Best Practice: Establish an Open Data Ecosystem by Share-PSI 2.0 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Organisations are taking giant steps towards freeing up public data with the aim of making it available for everyone to access this data and information, for personal as well as for business use. The uptake of this data and information has not been what was expected, however. Simply making data available to the public isn’t enough to make that data useful. Citizens are not interested in data: they are interested in services being built with the available data and information. Therefore more needs to be done: the establishment of an active open data network, an ecosystem to facilitate the uptake of data and information for reuse.


The open data landscape consists of different actors and users with different needs, challenges, problems, expectations, roles and envisaged opportunities. A strategy to coordinate all of those internal and external actors, stakeholders and interested parties, is needed. Only then can they be convinced to share data and information and make those available for re-use; only then will all involved know what can/must be available in order to realize innovation efforts and new products and services envisaged in the PSI directive.


An active network is needed, an "open data ecosytem," facilitating interaction and communication amongst everybody interested and/or involved in open data and the re-use of information and data, internal, as well as external to the organisation. Within such a regional, national and international ecosystem, information exchange such as success stories will increase visibility and therefore awareness with regards to the availability of data and information for re-use and the results achieved by doing so. Small infomediary companies could act as intermediaries between all involved parties and with other market segments. Examples can be found in Spain where over 80% of infomediary companies are older than 5 years old and generate approximately 4,500 to 5,500 jobs, mostly linked to ICT: analysis, processing and presentation of information [DH].

Why is this a Best Practice?

Most open data initiatives in most EU member states have focussed on making sure everything is in place on the supply side of opening up their data and information. Experience in many member states shows that it is not sufficient to just make the data open, i.e. simply making data available to the public isn’t enough to make that data useful. All agree that focusing on bringing about the necessary strategic, legal and technical aspects with regards to the implementation of open data isn’t enough either. Open data requires an approach based on the administration releasing it, the kind of data being released and, perhaps most importantly, its targeted audience. Interaction, communication, contacts with journalists, raising awareness, training, collaboration, discussions etc. is needed to foster the development of new innovative products and services, thereby helping to realise the goals of the PSI Directive such as stimulating economic and business activity and ultimately providing value for society as a whole. Initiating an open and constructive dialogue could be the beginning of an open data ecosystem, giving rise to sustainable business models of solutions making use of Public Sector Information, hopefully in combination with data and information from the private sector. Mostly forgotten, but not less important; this best practice will also achieve efficiency gains through sharing data inside and between public administration, fostering participation of citizens in political and social life and increasing transparency of government.

Implementing this best practice could help:

  • to get the most out of scarce public resources that are available in our member states;
  • to increase reuse, by the private and also by the public sector;
  • to focus the government agencies' efforts on offering the relevant information;
  • to improve available dataset formats, the information quality and its accessibility;
  • to promote better national regulations on PSI;
  • to enhance coordination between public and private sector in PSI reuse;
  • to bring about real added value to the development of open data in the member states and help communities to enter the open data movement or improve on it;
  • to use what already exists;
  • to make use of best practices realised in other member states;
  • to realise speed, scale of economy, cooperation.

How do I implement this Best Practice?

To adopt this Best Practice you will need to:

  • make sure everything is in place to facilitate the implementation of open data (strategy, content, legal and technical);
  • be willing to adopt a bottom-up approach to implement an open data program;
  • bring about an open data ecosystem by listening to all stakeholders and interested parties;
  • dedicate the necessary people and resources in realising this ecosystem;
  • be willing to share data inside and between public administrations;
  • establish the necessary follow-up procedures towards continuity.

Where has this best practice been implemented?

Country Implementation Contact Point
Albania Utilization Cases of Open Data Albania, Julia Hoxha and Aranita Brahaj, Institute AIFB, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany and Albanian Institute of Science, Tirana, Albania. Presented at Share-PSI Samos Workshop Uses of Open Data Within Government for Innovation and Efficiency, July 2014. Julia Hoxha – Albanian Institute of Science, Tirana, Albania.
Aranita Brahaj – Albanian Institute of Science, Tirana, Albania.
Benedikt Kämpgen – Institute AIFB, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany.
Finland Helsinki Loves Developers Contact form included on the page.


Local Guidance

This Best Practice is cited by, or is consistent with, the advice given within the following guides:

Contact Info

Noël van Herreweghe, Program Manager Open Data – Government of Flanders in Belgium

Issue Tracker

Any matters arising from this BP, including implementation experience, lessons learnt, places where it has been implemented or guides that cite this BP can be recorded and discussed on the project's GitHub repository

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