04/04/13 Research

Open Data strategies are finally converging – EU regions and the data on cohesion policy

EU Regions and national agencies managing EU Structural Funds are forced by a common Regulation to publish at least a minimum set of information on the projects and recipients that are funded with public money. This data is crucial to fight corruption and, more importantly, understand how the money is being used and what kind of results the policy has achieved.


While some Regions haven’t released much more information than the name of the beneficiary and the total value of the project, more and more public authorities in Europe are taking current regulations as an opportunity to manage EU funds more transparently.
Two years ago I blogged about three different open data strategies that public authorities were pursuing back in 2010.

  1. The first implied the release of high-quality data in machine-readable format
  2. The second was focused on data visualization and interactive search in order to include non-technically oriented citizens in open data re-use and understanding
  3. The third was about NOT being open. Little detail, little quality, lots of PDFs.

New data collected in October 2012 on the availability and quality of open data on EU Cohesion Policy tell quite a different story. From October 2010 to October 2012 the strategies have evolved, leaving room for more speculation about what kind of supply of policy data we can expect for the future. More precisely, data suggests that the two proactive strategies have become one.

According to a nonlinear multivariate analysis of 8 indicators on the openness and transparency of 434 Operational Programmes in Europe, it is not easy to clearly distinguish a strategy based on re-usable formats and detailed information from a strategy focused on letting users browse through data and diagrams.

For example, in 2010 a machine-readable format was associated with highly detailed financial data on project implementation or with proper metadata and projects’ description, while the presence of a map or of advanced search capabilities was likely where data were presented directly in a HTML page. Now the two formats are highly correlated. This implies that some national or regional portals – just like Italy’s national portal OpenCoesione – now let the users both download the data in bulk and surf through the data right on the website.

Obviously, this is good news for researchers, data journalists and ordinary citizens. Data providers seem to be more aware that the usefulness and stewardship principles are complementary. Most public agencies, though, keep following the same strategy of NOT being open and offer data in PDF with little information.
The variables showed in the two graphs below relate to:
• the format (PDF, XLS or CSV, HTML)
• the way the data is presented (GEO = maps & graphs; RIC = search functions)
• the datail of the content (CONT) and the financial data in particular (FIN). The variable QUAL represents data quality features such as the presence of metadata, english version of the fields, update frequency.

0 likes no responses
My Twitter Feed
RT @opengovpart: July 28 deadline fast approaching to contribute to the 2017-18 #OGP Research Agenda:…
RT @colinrtalbot: Cambridge Policy Lab - our (re)activated and relocated Policy Lab site - enjoy
RT @maassenpaul: Six ways for citizens to assert power beyond the ballot box - my take on some of the cool concepts @Guardianpublic https:…
RT @maassenpaul: Grazie mille! Looking forward to meeting many #opengov champions this week in Rome! @opengovitaly @SPizzicannella @luigire
RT @Monithon: Monithon raccontato sul @Guardian come esempio di #opengov! Many thanks @maassenpaul @opengovpart @ParlWatchItalia https://t.…
RT @psanabria: New book by @gretanasi @MariaCucciniell & Virginia Degara on the Evaluation of Innovation Performance in the Public Sector @…
[abstract] Evaluation of Innovation Performance in the Public Sector by @gretanasi et al.
RT @gquaggiotto: Adapt to policymakers’ ‘fast thinking’, don't bombard them with evidence hoping they'll get round to ‘slow thinking' https…
[paper] Crowdsourcing Government: Lessons from Multiple Disciplines via @TheGovLab #OpenGov @muredduf
Recent Comments
- Putting research into practice: Training academics to use Open Data as OER: An experience from Uruguay | Thoughts on Open Education to OpenCoesione School – A scalable learning format using OpenData as Educational Resources
[…] developed by A Scuola di Open Coesione, and in the work t Chiara Ciociola and Luigi Reggi...
- Così fallisce l’Open Government: quando lo Stato fa auto-gol | to A (long) list of the risks of Open Government
[…] un post di un paio di settimane fa mi sono cimentato in una prima lista dei possibili ris...
- Così fallisce l'Open Government: quando lo Stato fa auto-gol | Tech Economy to A (long) list of the risks of Open Government
[…] analisi dell’esistente, l’Open Government porta con sé grandi potenzialità m...

A citizen monitoring marathon of the development projects financed by the European Union