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Why Open Data needs Open Reusers

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External data sources are vital for companies. Relying on internal website analytics, sales figures and inventory statistics solely, neglects the richer insights stemming from external data. An important external data source is Open Data. Open Data involves (governmental) data that anyone can access, use and share. This means, businesses can transform, combine and reuse the data for any purpose (e.g. commercial, civil and academic). This article explains why and how business reusers must vocalize their need for Open Data before this data source dries up. 

Despite its rise, Open Data continuation is at risk whenever public bodies are not effectively triggered for publishing their data. A lack of incentives threatens external data provision. How would you and your organization be affected when Open Data is no longer available? Public authorities may publish Open Data for reasons of good governance and transparency duties. However, there is a far more (politically) powerful incentive for these organizations to publish Open Data: reuse.

Whenever municipalities, public transport organizations and health institutions know how their data add value to new and existing businesses, it speaks to the essence of public sector organizations: serving and enriching society.

Governments face difficulties tracking reuse themselves, because registering reusers generally goes against the restrictless way Open Data should be downloaded and reused. Therefore, reusers must vocalize themselves and reinforce the necessity to publish Open Data. As opposed to the concept of Open Data, reusers and their reuse benefits have remained too hidden.

There are three basic ways to vocalize yourselves as reusers:

  1. Request: send a data request to a public authority, specifying the types of datasets you believe are valuable (e.g. data from a specific domain).
  2. Promote standardization: support governments with standardizing datasets by articulating what data formats, templates and data structures serve your data requests most.
  3. Share success: promote your successes relying on Open Data at the public body that provided you with the data in the first place, or at use case sections that many Open Data portals have.

By requesting certain data, promote standardization and share Open Data successes, public bodies know why and how they can keep publishing Open Data in a societally relevant way. By becoming more open reusers, companies secure an essential external data source that enriches their business activities.