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Sustainability of (Open) Data Portals Infrastructures reports pt. 1

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Sustainability of (Open) Data Portals Infrastructures reports pt. 1
This is the first piece in a series about the “Sustainability of (Open) Data Portal Infrastructures” reports. In this highlight, the focus is on “Measuring Use and Impacts of Portals”
Europe

Sustainability of (Open) Data Portals Infrastructures reports

On 6 July 2020, the European Data Portal (EDP) published a series of six reports (plus an executive summary and overview) around the sustainability of (open) data portal infrastructures. The reports tackle several dimensions of the topic, and are:

These reports build off of the research conducted for two previous reports by the EDP Consortium: Recommendations for Open Data Portal: from setup to sustainability (2017) and Ensuring the Economic Sustainability of Open Data Portal: Understanding Impact and Financing (2018).

Over the coming months we will use featured highlights such as this to summarise the findings around each of the dimensions of the report, inviting you to read the full study. This is the first piece, focusing on the first report “Measuring Use and Impacts of Portals”. More specifically, the report discusses:

  • Measuring use and impacts of portals,
  • Selecting attributes to measure;
  • Developing macro- and microeconomic indicators through re-use;
  • Assessing who should use this methodology and how; and
  • Lessons and best practices.

This article will focus on the importance of measuring open data; issues to take into consideration when selecting a metric; examples of metrics to measure the use and impact of portals; and examples of lessons and best practices.

Measuring Use and Impact of Portals

Measuring the use and impact of (open) data is crucial. It is needed to:

  • maintain the quality of data and support;
  • justify further investment;
  • focus resources;
  • compare progress between countries and institutions, for example; and
  • to set benchmarks for countries, institutions and portals.

Before selecting a metric to measure data, there are several issues that need to be defined. An example is evaluating the quality of the data and defining what a good quality dataset is. Is a good quality dataset when all the data fields are complete, or where there are fewer fields that are more accurately filled? Or, is it data that has been cleaned and refined, or that contains raw data, including outliers? Another issue when selecting a metric to measure use and impact is aligning on who ‘the users’ of the data are. For example, is it the primary users – those who use data directly; secondary users – those who use it through an intermediary; or tertiary users – those that use the product of the data? Several other issues are explored in the report, including what re-use activity is being measured and how to track usage on a portal.

After selecting and defining the focus, a metric will be selected to measure the data. Several metrics are discussed in this report with examples that showcase their merits. Following the introduction of several metrics, the report continues to investigate developing microeconomic indicators through re-use and who should use these metrics and indicators and how. To conclude the report, several lessons and best practices are shared.

As stated, this article focused on a few key findings of the report. For more information on developing macro- and microeconomic indictors through re-use and assessing different methods and metrics, for example, explore the report “Measuring Use and Impacts of Portals” on the EDP. Moreover, keep an eye out for our next the EDP team’s second featured highlight on 5 August 2020 that will focus on “Developing Microeconomic Indicators through Open Data Re-use”.

For more information or examples on open data, explore the European Data Portal’s (EDP) news archive and featured highlight section. Aware of open data examples or stories?  Share them with us via mail, and follow up on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to stay up to date!