Open Data Dag In Vlaanderen, Conclusions
Prepared for Share-PSI 2.0 workshop on December 3th - 4th Lisbon


October 3th 2014, the Flemish government in Belgium organized the third edition of the “Open Data Day in Flanders”. The focus of the two previous editions was mainly on the supply side. This year the organizers decided to put the spotlight on the users of the data and information supplied by the Flemish government, developers , individuals, entrepreneurs and others who build apps and web applications with this data, which in turn create economic and social value.

Almost 250 CEOs, CIOs, project managers, developers and other stakeholders got together in Brussels for this yearly event. 24 national and international speakers saw this as an opportunity to present their projects and applications to an appreciative audience.

The organizers of this event are also active organizers and participants in the European Share-PSI 2.0 project. They saw this as an opportunity towards realizing the aims of the second workshop to be held in Lisbon on December 3th and 4th; “Encouraging the commercial use of open data”. They asked the Open Data community to tell them what their expectations and recommendations were with respect to things such as the relevance of defined open data policies, the availability of data feeds, standards, challenges, opportunities etc.

Participants at this event also got the opportunity to attend a “DataDive” workshop were data owners (the entities of the Flemish government and the local government) and data users (interested developers, businesses, organizations and designers) got together in a constructive dialogue, to discuss challenges and opportunities with regards to the commercial use of open data.

The results are listed down below and will serve as input to the Share-PSI 2.0 workshop in Lisbon, Portugal on December 3th and 4th.

Ref: (in Dutch)
Contact: Noël Van Herreweghe


Each conclusion may be referenced directly by appending '#_x' to the URL of this page where x is the number of the conclusion.

  1. “Government” does not exist. “Government” is often a collection of non-cooperating entities.
  2. “Open” data is not “free” data. Re-using the (open) data comes also with a cost such as cleaning the data, development costs, conversion and integration and maintenance costs.
  3. Open data often comes without the supplier side taking any responsibility such as a stable service requiring 24/7 operational stability and an SLA based agreement or contract.
  4. “Open” for business will require continuous supply side investment in infrastructure and services; is government ready for this?
  5. Opening up data is no guarantee that it will be 'picked up by the market.
  6. We would like to see a consultation model between the different stakeholders and users. Very often there is a discrepancy between the supply side and users: Providers built data from an internal logic, often having no idea what the impact could be of that data on the outside. Users/developers use the data as part of the individual business model, often without exactly knowing the source of the data, with no view on the future roadmap of the supply side.
  7. Government needs to pay attention to things like frequency, the right communication and the quality of downloads in order for businesses to run with the data and build a business on top of the data.
  8. We’d love more data, but we will only go for it if we can realize a stable business model with this data.
  9. The combination/linking of datasets creates added value, not only from government, but also from private companies and NGOs.
  10. There must be a balance between price and quality, accessibility and offerings.
  11. Stimulate and integrate, be clear, long live JSON, think with us, use open standards.
  12. Research journalists need a firm commitment from government w.r.t. open data, the data needs to be reliable, from confirmed authentic sources, easy to find, well indexed, easy accessible, using open standards and as much as possible free of charge.
  13. New Public Management causes fee maximisation, as the civil servants see themselves as responsible for the income of their relevant PSB (Public Sector Bodies).
  14. Some PSBs are ready to destroy established companies to increase their revenue, they see commercial reuse as competition.
  15. Many PSBs do not really see the benefits of the PSI directive, they believe in commercialisation, the selling of their data.
  16. There is a lack of economic expertise within the PSBs. Sales revenue, profits and other elements of balance sheets are mixed up.
  17. PSBs are ready to defend their fees even if is obvious that these fees contradict European provisions and judgements.
  18. PSBs deliberate miss- and/or diss-inform decision-makers and politicians.
  19. Politicians backup their PSBs as long as possible, especially if they generate revenues.
  20. Neither politicians nor civil servants really understand the economic background of PSI.
  21. Also Politicians prefer short term revenues instead of long term economic development, even if their programs read different.
  22. We believe in the strength of our own closed data. Integration of open data and closed data creates added value. Important is to collect data from a variety of sources, make that data consistent and enrich, thereby creating additional services (eg mapping, routing, ...) and services.
  23. OD standards are fine, but more important are transparent user conditions, well thought out pricing models and quality data
  24. Public Private Partnerships needs to be on the agenda at government level.
  25. There are few stable standards, there are lots of standard dialects, standards are interpretable and data handover is often accompanied by loss of quality.
  26. The data and context needs to make sense.
  27. The privacy issue needs to be looked at from different angles.
  28. A sustainable business model is critical when dealing with open data. One doesn’t stand out as a business with just open data and open software, the added value is in the 'integration' of different data sources.
  29. We prefer “stable” data than “more” data, “quality” data than “more” data fields.
  30. Better communication between suppliers and customers will be a win-win for both parties.
  31. When an open data entrepreneur builds a business one gets get investment, commitment, validation, insight as well as economic growth and new jobs.
  32. Government has to be patient, it may take a while for entrepreneurs to build products.
  33. Follow the ODI model for incubation.
  34. Run innovation competitions.
  35. Seed fund for specific outputs.
  36. Be glad for businesses to get rich from open data.
  37. Changes only take place when external pressure grows.
  38. It is very difficult to get a consistent overview of publicly available data feeds.
  39. There are to many different interpretations of the applicable legislation.
  40. We see many inconsistent pricing models, sometimes contradictory.
  41. Data integration remains a time-consuming and therefore expensive matter for the integrator.
  42. Free market means free movement of services and products, that allows us to build information services with * added value.
  43. Businesses shouldn’t need to be in competition with the data source holder.
  44. Respecting privacy rules is very often very difficult.
  45. We need access to reusable raw data, but data which has been defined to us in his context.
  46. Give us quality data without size restrictions.
  47. We need transparency w.r.t. user rights and –restrictions and stable license models.
  48. Define creative pricing models, forexample. “pay per use” and listen to the market and the customer.