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5.1 Select open source

5.1 Select open source software solutions and solutions that offer downloading/archiving options Many Open Data portals run on platforms (software) that offer integrated Open Data management solutions. These platforms include features like metadata management, basic visualisations, user management, data publishing and data storage. Some of the most commonly used Open Data platforms include the following. CKAN: currently the most widely used open source data platform helping users from different levels and domains – from national and regional governments to companies and organisations – to make their data openly available. 51 CKAN has been adopted by the European Data Portal (EDP), and all of the national portals included in the study. The regional portals interviewed use Socrata and CKAN (one used CKAN through the platform Datapress). As described in OpenDataSoft’s research on Open Data topologies, catalogues, and metadata harmonisation: “CKAN provides tools to ease the workflow of data publishing, sharing, searching and management. It also provides a set of visualisation tools, such as interactive tables, graphs and maps. There is also a RESTful JSON API for querying and retrieving data.” 52 51 OpenDataMonitor, 2013, Open Data topologies, catalogues and metadata harmonisation 52 Open Data Monitor, 2013, Open Data topologies, catalogues and metadata harmonisation 36

A CKAN-based open source data platform is being provided by the startup DataPress, which also runs Leeds Data Mill, London Data Store and Socrata: provides a commercial platform to streamline data publishing, management, analysis and re-use. The Bath:hacked city portal is hosted on Socrata. All the data hosted by Socrata can be accessed using a RESTful API. 53 DKAN: an open source Open Data platform maintained by NuCivic and developed openly and collaboratively with the Open Data, open source and open government communities. It is powered by Drupal and aligned with the data standards and best practices of the CKAN data portal software. DKAN is used across the world 54 , including ministries in Czech Republic and cities and regions in Germany. Every portal examined for this report, except for the Bath:hacked city data store, was based on open source software. Open source has become more preferable for government organisations over the past decade for its adaptability and affordability. The UK Government’s IT Strategy, for example, states that: “Where appropriate, government will procure open source solutions. When used in conjunction with compulsory open standards, open source presents significant opportunities for the design and delivery of interoperable solutions.” 55 Open source platforms can reassure users that it is possible to contribute to their development or selfhost the platform, if pricing of a hosted solution increases or the platform doesn’t fulfil their requirements. Bath:hacked is hosted on Socrata and its owner expressed a concern that this may result in future challenges, with apps built off the portal only sustainable while the service via Socrata is maintained. However, it was more cost-effective for a small portal to use a non-open-source service than paying for the staff time to build and maintain a portal on CKAN, for instance. The Bath:hacked portal owner explained: ‘We have technical people but they can’t be on call’. All of the national and regional portals interviewed (except for Bath:hacked and Leeds Data Mill) are built on CKAN, as the EDP is. This interoperability was a key advantage for portal owners, for instance the owner of the Vienna city portal told us, ‘It’s best for us to have our data in EDP, and to have it in other languages too. [I] don’t think CKAN data structure is problem, [the] EDP is on CKAN.’ Portal owners interviewed expressed a sense that the market for Open Data platforms was limited. One portal owner described CKAN as ‘the best of a limited selection’. CKAN is affordable and open source. On the other hand, some respondents said that CKAN can be hard for teams with limited technical resource to maintain and update. One portal owner described their frustration in adapting CKAN to their own purposes, even though it was open source, indicating that they had trouble sourcing developer support and/or assistance from the CKAN community to help them make the changes they 53 OpenDataSoft, OpenDataSoft customers 54 Github, 2016, A partial list of DKAN sites around the world 55 UK Cabinet Office, 2011, Government ICT Strategy 37

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