Going beyond data release

new paper from Marijn Janssena, Yannis Charalabidis & Anneke Zuiderwijk, on Benefits, Adoption Barriers and Myths of Open Data and Open Government highlights the importance of governments looking beyond the simple release of data, to also address feedback loops and organisational change.

The authors argue that without attention to learning from institutional and systems theory, opening data could lead to institutional structures being reinforced, rather than leading to a transformation in the business of government. They highlight the importance of thinking about feedback systems, alongside ways of publishing data:

“The implication of the notion of feedback in systems theory is that, in opening their data, governments should not simply instigate one-way communication of their data but should expect or actively solicit feedback and be able to make sense of this feedback. The opening of systems provides the opportunity for creating feedback loops in which the government can learn from the public.” 

Their analysis outlines some of the challenges that governments will need to face in developing open data engagement, but also suggests that meeting those challenges will be important if the potential of open data is to be realised.

Building a library of examples


Inspired by a combination of the Linked Data star scheme by example and the Helpful Technology Digital Engagement Guide I’m starting to collate examples of open data initiatives and projects that show the five stars in action.

Got an example to share? Drop me a note and I’ll feature it here.


I’m also thinking about how best to present examples. Should they just be short summaries? Or do they need to be more developed case studies that explain how they serve the goals of open data engagement? What would you like to know about each example?


72 open data best practices

The Opquast ‘Open Quality Standards’ project have put together a list of 72 open data best practices, recently translated into English by their team and online here (the french version is here).

Many of the best practices describe technical features that an open data portal can provide to give strong foundations for engagement around open data. A number focus on the importance of good meta-data, and feedback channels, particularly useful to support 2 about putting open data in context.

Thanks to Pascal Romain, Elie Sloïm and Steven Flower for providing and proofing the translation.