13 Dec Ireland is on the podium (2nd) in the Open Data Maturity report 2021.
By Irene Garcia, Marketing Manager at Derilinx
It is official. Ireland has ranked 2nd in the Open Data Maturity report 2021!
Congrats to the Open Data Unit in the Department of Expenditure and Reform for an amazing programme that has made Ireland a trend-setter for 6 years in a row!
2021 has been an incredible year for Ireland’s Open Data Programme. Derilinx is so proud of being the key partner to Ireland’s Open Data Programme that has reached results so consistently over the years. We must be doing something right!
The Open Data Maturity assessment 2021 benchmarks the development of European countries in the field of open data. It measures maturity against four open data dimensions:
- Open Data Policy: focusing on countries’ open data policies and strategies – Ireland scored 94%, 7 points above the European average.
- Open Data Impact: looking into the activities to monitor and measure open data re-use – Ireland scored an impressive 100%, 23 points over the 77% EU average.
- Open Data Portal: assessing portal functions and features that enable users to access open data via the national portal and support interaction within the open data community – Ireland’s Open Data Portal is one of the strongest in Europe with a 95% score, 12 points over the European average.
- Open Data Quality: focusing on mechanisms that ensure the quality of the (meta)data – Ireland scored 92%, 15 points above the EU average.
The overall Open Data Maturity scores in 2021
Figure 2* illustrates the overall open data maturity scores of all 34 participating European countries in 2021.
This article presents a summary (using the full Open Data Maturity Report as the source) of the information concerning Ireland in the different dimensions.
1. Open Data Policy
Ireland scored a 94% in the Open Data Policy dimension, 7 points above the European average.
Open data Policies
Ireland published the transposition to the Open Data Directive by Statutory Instrument in July 2021. It offers guidance to all public sector bodies (PSBs) to coincide with the publication of the new statutory instrument. The Irish open data policy aims to encourage and drive the publication, uptake and use of open data. This will add value to the economy by increasing transparency, stimulating new business applications, building trust in government, and improving the lives of citizens by delivering better services.
A top-down approach is used for governing open data. The open data policy is set and coordinated at the national level by the Department Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) and is a key element of the government’s reform agenda. DPER is responsible for the implementation of government reform across all levels of government, both central and regional. The positioning of the governance structures for open data within DPER provides the structure and ability to drive the policy
2. Open Data Impact
One of the main objectives of publishing Open Data is to deliver positive impact in our society and Ireland is doing a great job on this area. The country scored a 100% on the Open Data Impact dimension, 23 points over the 77% EU average.
Below are some of the Open Data Initiatives that different PSBs and other organisations are running. These initiatives make a real positive impact for citizens both locally and nationally.
Open data in policy-making processes
The Public Policy is a not-profit organisation, which analyses policy documents and formulate deductions and conclusions. They aim to provide independent evidence to inform economic, social, and environmental policies and to communicate relevant research findings to policy makers and interested citizens.
Increasing the inclusion of marginalised groups in society
Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, launched a comprehensive Open Data Portal (data.tusla.ie) to allow access to its data on child services, child protection and welfare, family support and domestic violence.
Derilinx worked with Tusla to build (and it is maintaining since) the associated Open Data Catalogue (datacatalog.tusla.ie), which has over 700 datasets are one of the most viewed publishers.
Raising awareness on health and well-being (e.g., COVID-19)
Ireland has a great example of COVID-19 open data-based national dashboard with is complemented by vaccination data.
The Environment Protection Agency offers national waste statistics and reports about waste management. These are used for reporting on Ireland’s performance in meeting its legal obligations, for policy and waste management planning purposes and to inform the public.
Derilinx worked with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Data & Information Architecture Team to carry out a complete Data Governance and Catalogue, Standards & Software Review (data.epa.ie).
The macro-economic impact of open data
The Dublin Economic Monitor (dublineconomy.ie) offers the data accompanies their quarterly economic reports. The Dublin Economic Monitor is a joint initiative on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities to track developments in the capital’s economy. A key objective of the initiative is to develop and publish new data series each quarter to increase our understanding of the performance of the Dublin economy.
3. Open Data Portal
Ireland’s Open Data Portal is one of the strongest in Europe with a 95% score, 12 points over the European average.
Derilinx is contracted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to host, manage and develop the National Open Data Portal (data.gov.ie) according to international best practice and standards. You can read more here.
The national portal was launched in 2014 and has been growing since at a very good pace in terms of features and datasets (over 13,000 datasets at the time of writing).
The portal is built using CKAN and the aim is to have one place where people can find and access public sector information that is made available by all Public-Sector Bodies. It provides easy access to datasets that are free to use, reuse, and redistribute.
Ireland is the 8th country with the highest number of unique visitors relative to the population size, as shown in Figure 20. This means an increase of 2 position since last year’s report, going over Bulgaria and Hungary.
Application Programming Interface (API)
The API enables advanced users to access the metadata programmatically, for example by writing software that performs searches automatically, to identify new datasets. API usage can increase the traffic on the portal, and 15 national portals monitor if this is indeed the case.
10% of Ireland’s portal traffic comes from APIs, bringing it to the 10th position. The country is actively working on this area, promoting the use of APIs for data re-use to take place programmatically. Some of the more popular topics for API datasets are transport and environment.
Data provision – Challenges
In Ireland, most public service bodies do publish their data and the few who do not, might not have the capacity to publish yet or have little data to release due to GDPR concerns. The government and Derilinx are actively working with them to address these issues. There is a network of open data liaison officers across public service organisations and their Open Data Unit is in regular contact with this network to support them and encourage them to publish their data in open format.
Derilinx also runs informative events and publish insightful articles to educate Public Sector Bodies and encourage them to publish data. You can find our blog here and a list of events here . Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date.
4. Open Data Quality
Ireland scored a a 92% on the Open Data Quality dimension, 15 points above the EU average.
Monitoring and measures
In Ireland, the Irish Open Data Technical Framework was revised in 2021 and the new “Open Data Publication Guidelines” document was published. In the revised guidelines, the focus is on recommending best practices that will:
- Ensure the discoverability and accessibility of data,
- Empower people to understand and use data,
- Support increased public-service transparency,
- Drive evidence-based decision making and innovation, and
- Enable measurable impact.
Additionally, events are held to assist data providers in the publication of high-quality metadata.
For example, the Open Data Unit at DPER together with Derilinx run the webinar series “It’s time to open” that aims to help publishers learn about the new Directive and the process of opening and publishing their data. We run two events in 2021 and will hold another one early in 2022:
- March 2021: Preparing for the Open Data and Reuse of PSI Directive
- June 2021: How to Publish Open Data Effectively
Also within this partnership we run the National Open Data Conference in December 2020 and November 2021, specially focused on Data Impact and Data Quality respectively. You can access the recordings and presentations below
- November 2021 – National Open Data Conference: The importance of Data Quality
- December 2020 – National Open Data Conference: The journey from Open Data Publicaton to Impact.
Derilinx also published an article when the Open Data Directive was transpose into national law – The Open Data Directive is here! Approach to Open Data Publication
The country ranking of the quality dimension can be observed in Figure 39, with Ireland being 2nd in the list.
Clustering the Countries
As mentioned before, Ireland has been part of the Trendsetters cluster for years, consolidating their position with the 2nd place in the overall maturity.
A trendsetter country means that has an advanced Open Data policy in place with a strong coordination of open data activities throughout at all levels of government. The national portal provides a wide range of features and caters for the needs of advanced users and publishers. The level of quality of open data in the country is very good, with various initiatives in place to ensure the publication of high-quality data and compliance with DCAT-AP. There are different open data ecosystems developed around data domains, with a high level of interaction and reuse within these domains. Activities to measure re-use are conducted, with methodologies in place to assess the impact in different domains. Little to no limitations to publication or re-use are observable.
2021 has been an incredible year for Ireland’s Open Data Programme. It has taken a lot of hard work from the Open Data Unit at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Public Sector Bodies and other organisations to bring the country where it is in such a consistent way. Derilinx is very proud and honoured of being a key partner in the programme.
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