| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The implementation plan is documented in the attached implementation plan. Roughly, it can be viewed as divided in the following phases/milestones:
1) Loose cooperation between federal levels and different public institutions
Preparatory workshops were held to identify stakeholders and potential of a common Austrian Open Government Data Portal and its synergetic effects in bundling and aligning existing efforts around open data by Austrian governmental organizations at different levels. For this purpose, representatives of the chancellery not only participated in workshops organized by the respective open data initiatives, but also organized workshops itself and became a coordinating force among the open government data initiatives in Austria.
2) Cooperation OGD Austria founded
The Cooperation OGD Austria was founded in July 2011 together by representatives of the chancellery, as well as the Austrian cities of Vienna, Linz, and Graz for the purpose of aligning standards for open
data publishing, creating a common portal and more efficient coordination of all stakeholders.
3) Standardization meta-data and license
Several versions of the jointly founded Cooperation OGD Austria metadata working group aligned metadata structure to describe OGD datasets were then published, which also includes the agreement of a common license to ease access and combinability of open datasets to together with representatives of universities, research institutes, companies, and OGD publishers.
4) OGD Portal (Beta)
As an additional measure the OGD Portal has launched awards to incentivize the development of Apps on top of OGD and promotes Apps actively through its portal.
The central portal collects all published datasets by public bodies in the cooperation and is open for more organizations to join. This includes various technical features that help to achieve its goals.
* a searchable Data Catalog supported by standards (CKAN, a common meta-data catalog and a common license model)
* An application registry (that includes documentation which datasets have been used by which apps)
* Soft integration of social media (by adding social media "like" buttons in a 2-click fashion for added privacy)
* Links to other open government data efforts
* contact and feedback facilities
5) Cross Border meta-data Standardization
Based on the initiative of the Austrian OGD Portal been reconciled with German OGD initiatives and the Swiss OGD portal has agreed to adhere to the same standards. The Austrian OGD standards thereby contribute to reconciliation and harmonization of Open Data efforts bottom-up within Europe (as a complementary effort to top-down EU directives such as INSPIRE) in a dynamic, participatory manner, involving various stakeholders and user groups.
Ongoing and future activities are further documented in item 12. (lessons learned) below.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Stakeholders were identified and involved in the initiative as follows:
1) Preparatory Activities
Different stakeholders were identified and involved in preparatory activities like stakeholder workshops, namely, political decision makers, civil society (citizens and user communities), economy and public administration. Additional groups were involved journalists, media and science (universities, as well as other private and public
research institutions). The goal of preparatory workshops was to identify requirements of the primary stakeholder groups as well as the potential to involve the secondary stakeholder groups for dissemination and public relation to make the effort and portal known to a wider community and help building up an active user group.
2) Cooperation OGD Austria
As for public administrations under the coordination of the Cooperation OGD Austria, this involves besides the chancellery as a coordinator, the cities of Vienna, Linz, Salzburg and Graz, several federal states and single communities down to the level of small villages such as the community of Engerwitzdorf (pop. ~8400), which contributes 122 datasets.
3) Stakeholder Involvement – Community Management:
One of the crucial success factors is community management. Therefore, the City of Vienna established an event, which was organized every three month with the aim bringing together open data community and officials, adopted by other communities in similar models.
4) Cross boarder Involvement:
At international level, the initiative is closely aligned and plays a coordinating role among data portals by its neighbors (Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein), where the Cooperation represents the interests of federal states in Austria, communities, ministries and its user community.
All stakeholders from politicians, official public bodies, companies through to the open data community have been involved from the early beginning 2011 till today.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The members of the Cooperation ODG Austria and its stakeholders (including publishing organizations and community resources) mobilized the following resources:
1) Cooperation OGD Austria
Every member was responsible for his own open government data portal. The standardization process was also financed by cost sharing; the organizations allocated personal resources for the standardization. The ongoing process of coordination of planning is also financed by the members.
2) OGD Portal Development & Implementation
The Austrian federal chancellery has contributed with a workforce of 3 people at 30% to facilitate the administrative setup of the open government data portal from October 2010 until April 2011, launch of the beta version of the OGD portal. The federal computing center did the technical implementation, which required about 6 person months. The technical implementation was financed by the Ministry of Finance.
3) OGD Portal operational phase
Two people of the Federal Chancellery are working part time (around 50%); they are responsible for the coordination and further development of the portal and the standards.
The technical operations is done by the federal computing center and is charged around 100.000 Euros per annum, this includes running costs (hard- and software) and small budget for technical innovation and implementation. The annual running costs are shared by the chancellery
and the City of Vienna.
4) Community Resources
Public organizations, companies, research partners and open data community have mobilized at least the same amount of voluntary work to contribute to the effort, e.g. support of the standardization process, organization of “bar camps”, feedback loop for the OGD portal.
Furthermore a wide number of open data apps (around 140) were developed and submitted to the portal. Based on a survey an average of 100 development hours effort per app, so additional workforce has been mobilized.
It should be emphasized that a vast majority of the effort contributing to the Cooperation OGD Austria from all stakeholders is not accountable in numbers and based on voluntary and community contributions.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1) Meta Data Standardization:
The most successful output was the meta-data standard, meanwhile harmonized with the German and adopted by the Swiss national OGD initiatives. A unified meta-data standard is the solid base for every national OGD portal and prerequisite for cross-border activities.
2) License Standardization:
The Austrian OGD initiative is one of the few initiatives, which was able to agree on one international established license for data publishing. The decision to commonly use Creative Commons (CC by) license was an important output of the initiative, because application developers or users of the data exactly knew what they are allowed to do with datasets and it enables them to mix the different datasets, without the need to take legal advice.
3) Meta-Data Portal:
Based on these two OGD initiative outputs the OGD portal makes the cooperation happen. Administrations deliver open data sets and the open data community develops applications and visualizations. The success of the portal is measurable by in between 174 Apps and over 1000 datasets. Seemless integration and alignment as well as a central portal between regional,community and federal data providers could be achieved and collected in a single portal.
4) Cross border Meta-Data Harmonization:
OGD initiatives shouldn’t stop the national borders, because people often develop for regions and are not interested in national limitations. Therefore Austrian and German OGD initiates harmonized their meta-data standards, which enables the open data communities to harvest meta-data and get a quick overview about existing datasets in both countries.
5) Various small but invaluable success stories include:
(i) New business models: the RIS (legal information system) dataset, that led to a successful App, now used by countless lawyers across Austria and has boosted the SME originally built the app.
(ii) unexpected use and increased equity: a dataset and app for locating public toilets has found a community of patients who found their quality of life increased and who have sent a testimonial to the portal providers.
(iii) feeding back apps into public administration: the public transport of the city of Linz did not have resources to build their own timetable and route planning app. The data was provided as OGD and used by a successful app, now bought back and sustainably maintained by public administration.
(iv) improving public data quality: a dataset including geodata by the city of Vienna that contained errors could be corrected by community feedback.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The following performance indicators were developed by the Cooperation OGD Austria for measuring the progress for the different local open data portals and for the central OGD portal. These indicators facilitate the comparison of the different open data providers.
1) Quantity of Datasets
A typical indicator for OGD initiatives is dataset quantity. On the portal the users can easily find out how many datasets have been published per organization. This stimulates an unofficial competition between publishing organizations. Austria’s Open data policy is compared to other countries fairly cautious; whilst in some of the Anglo-American countries often "data-tsunamis" were released, the Austrian and German approach was more defensive, publishing datasets stepwise in several phases, but steadily increasing datasets that can be kept up-to-date in a sustainable manner.
2) Quality of Datasets:
Quality monitoring is based on the feedback from the open data community. Several options to provide feedback include a Wiki, E-Mail, Twitter and real life meetings. The quality of the datasets was very high, according to this evaluation by the open data community and also the community feedback helped to increase the dataset quality in particular cases, where errors were reported and fixed.
3) Quantity of Applications
A very interesting indicator for OGD initiatives is the quantity of applications or visualizations, which are using open data sets. Therefore the initiative defined in the netiquette. That people who use the datasets should list their application on the OGD-Portal with links to the integrated data sets. This delivers two indicators: First a general overview about the quantity of applications (currently 175 ) and second the apps in combination with the used datasets also listed on the portal. This offers an indirect feedback about the quality and (un)popularity of different datasets.
4) Ratio datasets to applications
The ratio between released datasets and applications is one of most interesting indicators in the field of OGD, because it delivers the effectiveness of an open data initiative, because the goal of open data initiatives is to create an impact for society through valuable applications and visualizations – e.g. the City of Vienna provides 223 datasets used by 111 applications, listed at the portal, cf. http://s.shr.lc/1fNpGqj
5) Download statistics
After evaluating download statistics and Web traffic in the initial phase, interviews with various stakeholders confirmed that these metrics do not reflect actual usage and uptake of open data and were discontinued after the initial phase.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
One of the main obstacles for setting up the initiative was the first attempt to set it up through established political instruments and channels in a top-down manner. It turned out to be a much better strategy eventually to grow the initiative bottom-up in a loose cooperation between the already active public organizations with a
positive attitude towards OGD. Within some political institutions contacted, a certain skepticism against transparency and the cost of maintaining open data in a sustainable manner was present, and not all of these could be convinced to open up their data. The remedy was to set
up the whole initiative as a “grass-roots” loosely coupled initiative, eventually also attracting organizations that were initially sceptic.
Another difficult factor is the cost of data, for instance, particular institutions selling data at the moment (at production cost, i.e. without making profit, were not in a position to join, since opening up
their data would mean that potentially the data curation costs could no longer be covered). At the longer run, and given increased awareness of the benefits of OGD, it is one goal of the present initiative to demonstrate increased return of investment by opening data, also in
cooperation with science and research institutions participating in the stakeholder group and push political support needed here to cover such costs in the future by e.g. tax money. Studies and information campaigns along these lines are underway, also backed up by organizations that have opened up their data and witness return of investment, where testimonials shall be collected to convince more stakeholders.