The State of Open Data in Europe

Opening up government data to the public has been part of the European policy agenda since the introduction of the PSI directive in 2003. European Member States continue to lean towards a cautious approach of making their data available to citizens.

This is partly caused by conflicting legal frameworks, cultural norms and the idea to recover the costs of data production. At the same time and inspired by activities in the U.S. and UK, the open data movement has emerged in many countries around the globe. They have a simple demand: Government agencies should put as much of their data online as possible in a machine-readable format so that everyone can re-use it since they were paid for by taxes.

This study analyses the current state of the open data policy ecosystem and open government data offerings in nine European Member States. Since none of the countries studied currently offers a national open data
portal, this study compares the statistics offices’ online data offerings.

The analysis shows that they fulfill a number of open data principles but that there is still a lot of room for improvement. This study underlines that the development of data catalogues and portals should not be seen as means to an end.