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Best Practice: Manage A Wide Public Actors Network

Draft: 5 October 2015

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This is one of a set of Best Practices developed by the Share-PSI 2.0 Thematic Network.

Creative Commons Licence Share-PSI Best Practice: Manage A Wide Public Actors Network by Share-PSI 2.0 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Establishing and Managing a National Public Actors Network on Open Data to cooperate in solving common problems and challenges.

Management Summary

Many French local authorities (cities, metropolitan areas, departments, regions) have opened their data since early 2010. They felt the need to join forces in a network that:

  • brings together Communities through sharing and communication tools;
  • promotes procedures (best practices) between the members;
  • mutualises actions like data normalization or legal articles writing;
  • officially represents the members from public national bodies or private actors;
  • develops collective projects at national or international level.

Through this network, called OpenDataFrance, local governments have a spokesperson, a development tool and an effective communication channel.


Driven by various associations such as the new generation Internet Foundation (Fing) or LiberTIC, the Open Data movement in France started in 2010. Local authorities in Rennes, followed by the city of Paris and Montpellier, and a dozen more cities in 2011 began to open their data. In early 2012, the twenty communities met and realised that they had the same problems and the same challenges: standardise, facilitate, communicate, etc.


  • Establishment of an association (NGO) in 2012 with statutes, missions and objectives, governance and budget model.
  • Development of the network of actors represented by
    • local politicians ( for legitimacy);
    • operational agents in these territories.
  • Set-up of communication tools (e.g. Website, Social Networks, Scoop -it, Document sharing tools, Mailing list, collaboration tools).
  • Network management by a core team.
  • Intervention in conferences, hearings or working groups.
  • Production of documentation (Communication Pack, Certification Pack, Standardisation Pack, Legal Pack, Animation Pack etc.)

Best Practice Identification

Why is this a Best Practice? What’s the impact of the Best Practice

  • Bringing a real added value to the development of Open Data in France and helps many communities to enter the Open Data movement or improve it.
  • Creating savings in terms of time spent (not reinvent what already exists, not to make twice or more the same work) and time to completion (shorter, safer).
  • Enabling collaboration, it helps to quickly share positive and negative experiences of each other to go straight to the target and to improve incrementally best practices.

Why is there a need for this Best Practice?

  • Speed, scale economy, cooperation, pragmatic and incremental approach.
  • Leverage on other actors (stronger decisions by cooperation).

What do you need for this Best Practice?

Human Resources:

  • design and animation: 20 days of set-up + 8 days/months of community management;
  • cost: free (light part-time of few agents in local administrations.

An expenditure of around €40K/year (2014 prices) should cover:

  • Hosting of digital tools (server for the site, files and mail …)
  • Purchase and maintenance of hardware and software (webserver).
  • Travel and reception (cocktail, drinks).
  • Communication costs (printing flyers, poster or documentation).
  • Specific services (legal advice, accouting).

The association can charge some services to public customers through ad-hoc agreements.

Applicability by other Member States

The approach is applicable to any Member State.

Contact Info

Jean-Marie Bourgogne, OpenDataFrance

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