Ireland ranked second in the Portal Dimension of the Open Data Maturity Report 2023

The Open Data Maturity Report benchmarks the development of European countries in the field of open data. Ireland has been a trendsetter in this report for 7 years in a row. Although the country’s total score has dropped 2 percentage points (pp) this year, it still maintains an excellent score of 97% in the Portal category, ranking second in this dimension alongside Estonia, and only behind Poland.

Derilinx is extremely proud of being the key technical partner to Ireland’s Open Data Programme, maintaining and enhancing the national open data portal data.gov.ie.

This article presents information extracted from the EU Open Data Maturity Report 2023, highlighting Ireland’s strengths and weaknesses in the different dimensions with a special focus on the portal dimension.

General overview

Countries across Europe continue, on average, to improve their ODM in 2023. The average score for all participating countries increased by 4 pp, from 75% in 2022 to 79% in 2023.

France (98.3%), Poland (97.9%), and Ukraine (96.3%) remain in the top three positions. Ireland dropped from fourth place in 2022 to ninth in 2023 (92.1%), although this represents only a 2 pp decrease in the country’s total score. The fourth spot in 2023 is taken by Estonia (96.2%), which increased its score by 4 pp on the previous year. The image below shows the Overall maturity scores for the top 10 countries in 2023, ranked from highest to lowest scoring.


Overall maturity scores for the top 10 ranked countries in 2023, from highest scoring to lowest scoring

Ireland is well above the EU27 average in the four dimensions: Policy 97% (EU27 89%), Portal 97% (EU27 85%), Impact 87% (EU27 77%) and Quality 88% (EU27 82%).

Dimensions

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Open Data Portal

Ireland maintains a 97% score in the Open Data Portal category, which is 12 points above the EU average. The country ranks second in this dimension, only behind Poland (98%) and tied with Estonia.

The image below shows a summary of Ireland’s score vs. the EU average in the main indicators of this dimension.


Ireland’s Portal Dimension Performance (Ireland factsheet – State of play on open data 2023)

Portal usage

This indicator assesses whether portal administrators regularly evaluate if the portal’s design, features and available data align with users’ requirements.

Most popular data domains

In 2023, of the 27 EU Member States 25 indicated that they tracked the most and least visited pages on their national portal, 23 Member States reported monitoring the keywords used to search data and content., and, 26 Member States stated that they took measures to optimise the search function and the discoverability of content.

Several countries, such as Ireland and Hungary, emphasise that their search options and filtering criteria are enabled by ensuring that the metadata is compliant.

 

Portal Sustainability

This indicator examines the plans and processes in place to ensure the enduring viability of national portals. This includes the measures taken to enhance the visibility of the national portal, efforts to track user satisfaction and adapt to user feedback, and processes to monitor and improve the national portal’s performance.

User satisfaction

A total of 11 national portal teams indicated that, to understand these needs and gauge user satisfaction with the portal, they had conducted a satisfaction survey in the past year. Ireland, for example, has an ongoing user survey that is initiated when a person downloads a dataset. In addition, a major survey on the impact of open data in Ireland was launched last year, including a section on the effectiveness of the national portal.

Regarding the frequency of portal reviews, 12 national portal teams reported conducting a review quarterly. The remainder tend to review the portal biannually (6 national portals) or annually (8 national portals).

Ireland also decides on a schedule of enhancements with its technical supplier at the beginning of each year. The list of possible enhancements is based on user experience and best international practices. Throughout the year, the Irish open data team meets with the technical supplier fortnightly, reviews the progress of the portal updates and agrees to any additional enhancements or changes. These changes might address feedback received through the portal or issues / potential improvements that have come to the attention of the open data team.

Furthermore, 25 Member States reported that they considered users’ feedback on the national portal in the review process. The national team in Ireland additionally uses various events, such as the Open Data Impact Series, to gather user feedback. At these events, users often request features or make suggestions for the portal. These suggestions are collated, reviewed and, where possible, included in the work programme for portal updates.

Monitoring performance

To understand how national portals are developing, national teams need to monitor characteristics such as the number of available datasets, the distribution of datasets across categories and the availability of real-time data, and how these have changed over time. Reports on the portal’s performance and usage can also serve as evidence to justify ongoing initiatives and investments. To monitor performance, 22 national portals have a monitoring tool such as a dashboard to display key performance indicators.

Ireland measures several metrics, visible on the Stats page, and produces several reports, including on the portal data’s characteristics, using information from its Quality Assurance Validator and KPI report.

Open Data Policy

Policy Framework

The policy framework indicator evaluates open data policies, strategies and action plans at the national, regional and local levels. Specifically, this indicator investigates whether practical mechanisms are in place to support the publication, discoverability and reuse of several data types, and access to them, including real-time, geospatial and citizen-generated data.

Open data policies

All Member States reported having an open data policy, although national approaches vary. In some Member States, the national law that transposes the open data directive focuses specifically on open data. In Ireland, the directive is incorporated into national law through the Directive on Open Data and Re-use of Public Sector Information, also known as the Open Data Directive, in 2021.

Open data strategies

Ireland held a series of public consultations to determine the priorities for its 2023–2027 open data strategy. Until this strategy is formally adopted, the 2017–2022 open data strategy remains operational. It sets two main objectives: (1) making open data publicly available and freely reusable and (2) engaging with a broad community of stakeholders to promote the social and economic benefits of open data.

Update: The new Open Data Strategy 2023-2027 was launched in November 2023 at the National Open Data Conference.

Open Data Impact

Measuring reuse

This indicator assesses the actions taken to map reuse, the methodologies used to collect and classify reuse cases and the activities performed to understand the requirements of reusers.

The reuse of datasets and reusers’ needs

A total of 23 Member States reported that public bodies had conducted activities in the past year to document which open datasets were reused and how.

Ireland organises events that bring publishers and reusers together to share their views and plans for the future, an example is the Open Data Impact webinar series, run in partnership with Derilinx.

Gathering and classifying reuse cases

In 21 Member States, public bodies have developed systematic methods of gathering reuse cases. The open data team in Ireland emphasised that a significant part of the research for its strategy involved examining reuse cases and analysing what they revealed about the priorities and needs of reusers.

This is the dimension in which Ireland decreased its maturity the most compared with 2022, bringing it down to the 13th position.

Open Data Quality

The quality dimension of the ODM assessment encourages national portals to publish datasets with high data and metadata quality.

Monitoring and measures

This indicator assesses the extent to which mechanisms are in place to evaluate and improve metadata quality and its compliance with licensing standards. Moreover, the indicator looks at the support, guidelines and tools available to assist data publishers in publishing high-quality metadata and choosing the correct licence type for their data.

Monitoring the quality of metadata

In 2023, all 27 Member States (100 %) reported that they monitored metadata quality on their portals. Countries use a variety of tools to monitor and validate metadata. Ireland, among others, uses the Metadata Quality Assessment to evaluate the quality of metadata.

It is becoming more and more challenging to maintain a top position in the ranking due to the increasing levels of open data maturity in the EU. Ireland published its new 2023-2027 open data strategy last November, which lays out how to build on progress to date to create easy access to high quality government data, promoting trust and stimulating innovation.

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Derilinx provides support to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the national Open Data Initiative including technical support for the national Open Data portal, data.gov.ie.

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