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European Commission Project team DISCLAIMER

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This report takes a

This report takes a different (but complementary) approach. Through qualitative inquiry it seeks to draw out specific lessons from individual experiences that others can practically use. It aims to use interviewees’ stories to fill in the details sketched out by bigger comparative studies. Each section combines findings from the interviews, practical experience and secondary research to make a series of recommendations. Case studies are used throughout to explore examples. The challenges confronting Open Data portal owners, in their desire to make portals sustainable, are multi-faceted. The report follows the European Commission’s framework for assessing the sustainability of large scale Digital Service Infrastructure projects, which separates components of sustainability into governance, operations, financing and architecture. 18 The analytical framework mapped very well onto how interviewees understood sustainability and helped researchers to consider sustainability from multiple perspectives. The report therefore assesses: the governance model for a portal how it is financed its architecture, and how it is maintained and used from day to day (its operations). This report also includes a chapter on metrics for measuring performance and use of an Open Data portal. Several interviewees highlighted challenges monitoring and quantifying how their portal was used, and using data quality and quantity metrics to compare and benchmark publishers. The metrics chapter looks at existing metrics and tools for measuring Open Data portals, and the role they play in driving sustainability. The research will be iterated and the report updated at the end of 2017. 18 European Commission, 2013, The feasibility and scenarios for the long-term sustainability of the Large Scale Pilots, including ‘ex-ante’ evaluation 16

3. Governance The governance model for an Open Data portal shapes how it is financed, the extent of its influence on data publishers and re-users, and the resources it has at its disposal for maintenance, engagement and enhancements. Open Data portals are typically established by governments in the early stages of their Open Data initiative. Almost all of the national portals sampled for this report were set up between 2010 - 2012, and so have been directing people to public sector Open Data for around five years. While the portals sampled have different origin stories, some common features are worth keeping in mind in the context of what is sustainable. Most of the portals were set up: as part of a specific Open Data initiative, and administered by the team responsible for the initiative; without the need for a comprehensive business case or user research to help make the case for funding (because Open Data was a strategic political objective); separate to (in terms of governance and staffing) digital functions and strategies for government, although with obvious overlap. These features explain the rapid progress of Open Data initiatives in their early stages, being staffed close to the power-centre of government and able to fast-track spending. But to become sustainable, the governance model for an Open Data portal has to become embedded in ‘business as usual’ government functions, and able to continue to adapt to changing government priorities. Main recommendations to make the governance model more sustainable: Have a business plan and clear governance structure in place Bring publishers and data users together to address specific challenges, using Open Data from the portal Build responsiveness to government priority changes into your governance structure Create hard levers to set and enforce data quality and metadata standards, and pursue data updates from publishers Create a non-ministerial leadership role to champion data publication and respond to issues 17

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