The topic of open data is generating considerable interest among researchers, technology developers and practitioners in public administration as well as in the private sector. However, especially the public sector is pressured to make its data openly available. Here, the topic is not entirely new, as the re-use of public sector information (PSI) has been the subject of longer debates and EU directives (K. Janssen & Dumortier, 2003) which in some respect have prepared the ground for open data (K. Janssen, 2011).  Also,  debates  about  freedom  of  information  and  transparency  show  some connections to open data (Owen, Cooke, & Matthews, 2013) and illustrate its particular value laden nature in the public sector (Cerrillo-i-Martínez, 2012). Beyond the more philosophic argument that the data has already been paid for by the public, this draws attention to the impact of transparency on e.g. trust in government (Bannister & Connolly, 2011), social inclusion (Gurstein, 2014) and accountability (Yu & Robinson, 2012). Thus, the debate about open data is often reduced to open government data. The possibility of open data supplied by private companies receives only scant attention (Deloitte, 2012; Immonen, Palviainen, & Ovaska, 2014).

Furthermore, the conversation so far often circles around the potentials of open data (Geiger & von Lucke, 2012; McKinsey Global Institute, 2013; Shadbolt & O’Hara, 2013). However, up until now there is little evidence of any significant economic or societal impact (Huijboom & van den Broek, 2011). Regarding the sheer amount of available open data Anglo-American governments seem to provide far more data and render the latter in a more sophisticated way than governments in continental European countries (Davies, 2013; Open Knowledge Foundation, 2013). Even though publishing the data is not an end in itself, the different extent of available data is remarkable in its own right. This difference is puzzling as open data seems to be an international trend, fostered by an international community and pushed by international advocacy groups (e.g. Open Knowledge Foundation). Multinational initiatives such as the Open Government Partnership are taken up by countries as diverse as the United States of America, Chile, Austria, Russia, Kenya and Malaysia. Considering this heterogeneity of actors on the one hand and the differences in the implementation of open data activities on the other institutional factors appear to play an important role in how open data is perceived and adopted in the different administrative traditions and public sector organisations (Davies & Bawa, 2012). A more thorough understanding of the adoption process seems necessary to learn why open data catches on faster and differently in some instances and what the various impacts are.

Thus far, how open data is adopted by countries and organisations remains scarcely understood. This is because to a large extent, research has focussed on the operative routine processes around open data. Models around open data exclusively take the operational day-to-day processes into account (such as extracting, cleaning, publishing and maintaining data), while at the same time neglecting the strategic processes (such as policy production, decision making and administrative enforcement). However, it appears evident that these latter processes play an influential role in the shaping of open data (Courmont, 2012; Heimstädt, Saunderson, & Heath, 2014; Hunnius & Krieger, 2014).

More   comprehensive   conceptualisations   of   the   “system   of   people,   practices,   values,   and technologies” (Nardi & O’Day, 1999, p. 49) around open data have gained some recognition recently as open data ecosystems (Harrison, Pardo, & Cook, 2012; Heimstädt et al., 2014). The (information) ecology metaphor points to the symbiotic relationships between actors and how they are embedded in a specific ecology. Looking at the current technical open data landscape with its diverse sources of data, scattered hubs, various formats for data and meta data not to speak of data structures and vocabularies it becomes evident that the landscape is still fractured (Mayer-Schönberger & Zappia, 2011).  Actors  have   largely  withstood  initiatives  which  aimed  for  consolidation  or  at  least systematisation. Therefore, this report aims to understand why this is the case and what could level the landscape.

This section attempts to paint a comprehensive picture of stakeholders in open data – what exactly their stake is, which role(s) they have in the ecosystem, what their interests are and what requirements need to be met so they can fulfill their function in the ecosystem.  
 
References can be found here: OpenDataMonitor Project - Shared References

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