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Open data critical success factors strongly dependant on context

Author: Adrian Offerman

It's not a given that an open data initiative will become successful. Only a limited number of datasets are actually used, user support is limited, and the generation of value is seldom demonstrated. A group of researchers from the Netherlands, Sweden, Greece and Austria have identified 64 critical success factors for the publication and use of open data. They found, however, that the criticality of these factors depends considerably on the context of the initiative.

The group's findings were presented at the International Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government 2015 (CeDEM15) held recently at the Danube University Krems in Austria.

Legislation, regulation and licenses

The group started their research on the assumption of three dimensions indicating the success of an open data initiative:

  1. quality of open data publication (e.g. accuracy, completeness, timeliness, consistency),
  2. use of open data, and
  3. emerging impacts and benefits.

They continued to gather a total of 64 success factors from scientific literature, from a brainstorming session with four academic researchers, and from a subsequent workshop.

ENGAGE, an FP7 research project to develop an e-infrastructure particularly for the Social Science and Humanities (SSH) scientific communities, was used as a case to investigate contextual factors critical for open data publication and use. In this specific context, the most critical success factors were found to be related to legislation, regulation and licenses.