The research of the Knowledge Centre is directed towards establishing a user-driven, sustainable and fair open data ecosystem. The focus is on the governance of open data, its societal and economic impact, and the legal and financial restrictions on or conditions for implementing and adopting open data policies. Of specific interest are research topics addressing open spatial data infrastructures. Key themes in our research are:
- Assessment of open data infrastructures
- Governance of open data
- Open data business models
- Legal aspects of open data
- Use and users of open data
Assessment of open data infrastructures
Assessment and evaluation of open data initiatives and infrastructures is a useful tool for all actors and organizations directly or indirectly involved in these initiatives, including policy makers, public servants, researchers, citizens, journalists and other stakeholders. Since the moment governments started with setting up national, sectoral or organizational open data initiatives, assessment frameworks were developed to prepare, monitor and evaluate the implementation of these initiatives. Our research critically examines mainstream approaches to assess open data initiatives and explores new approaches and methods for assessing the readiness, implementation and impact of open data.
Governance of open data
Different governance models are being utilized for managing the relationships and dependencies between all involved actors, units and organizations. Due to the lack of research on the governance of open spatial data policies, it still remains difficult to understand the impact of implemented governance models on the success of open spatial data initiatives. As a result, practitioners and policy makers remain uninformed and uncertain about the success and appropriateness of their open spatial data governance model. The KCOD investigates the adoption of different governance instruments and mechanisms in the development and implementation of open data infrastructures.
Open data business models
A key challenge in the development and implementation of data infrastructures is the adaptation and alignment of existing business models of the involved actors and organizations. On the other hand, the move towards open data also led to the emergence of new business models, such as ‘infomediary’ business models, focused on connecting data providers and end-users through the development of services on top of open data. Our research explores the diversity of business models that are driven by open data.
Legal framework for open data
The rights and values underlying Open Data need to be balanced with the countervailing ones that might be dented by releasing data as open. The technical and legal openness promoted by open data laws and regulations is logically bound to clash with other rights, freedoms, and interests, when the latter regulate or impede information disclosure. The rights to privacy and to the protection of personal data, in particular, are amongst the starkest and most notable limits to Open Data. The KCOD research explores the imbalance between open data regulation and regulations hindering or restricting open data.
Use and users of open data
Most countries and public administrations are implementing a strongly supply-driven open data policy, focusing on making their data available according to the principles of open data. So far, the impact of these initiatives in stimulating the uptake and use of open geographic data has been rather limited, and governments are looking for new approaches to stimulate the use of open data. KCOD’s research focuses on monitoring and assessing the use of open data and on designing effective and innovative strategies for promoting and stimulating the use of open data.