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Best Practices/Organisational-internal engagement

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Organisational / Internal Engagement

Short description

The facet of user engagement in the domain of PSI and open data has two perspectives: External engagement (make use of data and information) and internal engagement (support the publication process). This document deals with internal user engagement.


Sustainable publication of data and information requires providers who are convinced about the pros and aware of the perils. While legal obligation is a powerful incentive to release data, a truly sustainable publication process will only be achieved when data providing stakeholders and institutions are truly convinced to share data and information.

Intended Outcome

Data providers MUST understand the pros and perils of data and information provision. Data providers SHOULD be

Possible Approach

Depending on the organisational structure of the administrative entity and the legal backing, internal engagement plays an important role. Without a legal obligation for an administration to release data as “open data” (i.e. according to the open data principles), engagement of the responsible heads of ministries and departments is crucial. Typically four leagues of open data support among responsibles can be identified:

  1. Those claiming to actively promote it and actually releasing data (“Enthusiasts”);
  2. Those claiming to support it, but not releasing data for various reasons (“Preventer”);
  3. Those actively opposing it („Opponents“); and
  4. those opposing it quietly (“Dark matter”).

Members of group 1 to 3 are relatively easy to reach and inform by targeted measures as they are visible. One measurement that proves to be effective is to give both opponents and proponents a common auditorium and the possibility to have their say. Opponents can explained their reasons why they have principally a positive attitude, yet are unable to release data for reasons like data protection issues, fear of losing income, costs or data volume. To discuss those arguments, „Reasons (Not) to Release Data“ (Sunlight foundation, 2013, http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2013/09/05/reasons­not­to­release­data/) can be used which helps to put some opinions into perspective. Another internal engagement measure to lower the entry barrier towards OGD is to establish clear responsibility for OGD within the administrative departments and to institute a virtual data publication competence center helping those departments which release data to answer questions concerning licenses, data formats and data structures or metadata descriptions.

Last but not least, the concept of sharing information is still very new to those officials who actually have to prepare PSI and OD data sets. Initially PSI and OD is likely to be perceived as an additional effort without any merit. Short and well dosed information campaigns, containing success stories and the voices (and faces) of external users who describe what they have accomplished with the provided data sets can increase the motivation of the responsible officials and can give the efforts of users or the community additional meaning.

How to Test

rate of available data/information to released data/information over time



Life Cycle Stage

Planning Publication Feedback


engagement, stakeholders, publication, planning



Intended Audience

PSI and Open Data strategy units trying to convince responsible data holders to release data

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