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Denmark

Open Data for Citizens and Media (DK0050)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Denmark Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: The Danish National Archives

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, E-Government, Open Data, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Denmark Implementation Report 2017-2019, Denmark Design Report 2017–2019

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?: The Danish National Archives has a vast collection of documents and data of historical interest. It is necessary for citizens and media to know about and be able to use this resource, which has unique potential in terms of providing insight into the public administration.; What is the commitment?: The Danish National Archives will in dialogue with OGP stakeholders (potential users and specialists) select 10 data sets (archive versions) within specific social themes (labour market, environment, traffic, energy supply, health, etc.). These data sets will be made searchable and ready for download by means of a publicly accessible data catalogue. On its website, http://www.sa.dk, the Danish National Archives will present itself as a contributor to the national OGP-effort and create an ‘inspiration page’ to support the citizens’ and media’s active use of open, public data within the selected themes. The Danish National Archives will also offer its users a guide on the practical use of data. The Danish National Archives will mark the launch of the data and inspiration page with a short video presenting the OGP objectives and demonstrating open data in active use, based on available data and the inspiration page.; How will the commitment Contribute to solve the public problem?: With this commitment, the Danish National Archives will contribute to making more data searchable and accessible online and ensure that data is not only made available to the citizens and media but is also used, since active use is instrumental to creating the intended openness of the public administration.; Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?: The commitment will contribute to making more historically relevant information available online and will thus be relevant to OGP values on openness and transparency.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Commitment 1: More open data for citizens and media

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

"The Danish National Archives will, in dialogue with OGP stakeholders (potential users and competent persons) select 10 data sets (archive versions) within certain social themes (labour market, environment, traffic, energy supply, health, etc.) This data will be made searchable and ready for download, by means of a publicly available data catalogue.

On its website http://www.sa.dk, the Danish National Archives will present itself as a contributor to the national OGP initiative and create an "inspiration page" to support the active use of open public data by citizens and media within the selected themes. The Danish National Archives will also be offering instruction to users in relation to the specific use of data. The Danish National Archives will mark the launch of the data and inspiration page with a short video that will present the OGP objective and will demonstrate open data in active use, based on accessible data and the inspiration site."

Milestones:

1.1 Selection of ten data sets in dialogue with stakeholders

1.2 Clarification of needs in relation to IT support for searches and accessibility in a freely available data catalogue

1.3 Publication of data in a freely available data catalogue

1.4 Presentation of OGP initiative on the Danish National Archives website, including setting up a page as inspiration for the use of data

1.5 Production of presentation video of the Danish National Archives OGP initiative

Start Date: 1 August 2017

End Date: 1 June 2019

Editorial note: For the full text of this commitment, see "The Danish OGP National Action Plan 2017–2019," Danish Agency for Digitisation, https://en.digst.dk/policy-and-strategy/open-government/open-government-partnership-ogp-action-plan/, p. 8.

Context and Objectives

The National Archives possesses a wealth of data on various social issues (e.g., labour market, environment, traffic, energy supply, health). This information previously has been inaccessible to the public and media due to issues of personal security and confidentiality, and accessibility laws. The commitment aims to improve citizens' and the media's access to a specific collection of documents and data of historical significance and to peak their curiosity towards this information. Towards this goal, the National Archives proposed to select 10 datasets within specific themes, in coordination with OGP stakeholders. It also planned to clarify the information technology needs for easy data catalogue searches. Finally, the National Archives intended to publish data and present the initiative on its website, including a video to support a user-friendly experience.

The commitment emphasises open and transparent data collection and therefore supports the OGP value of access to information. With the ambition of producing a data catalogue for the website, a video, and an inspiration site to boost the public's use of the open data catalogue, the commitment also supports the OGP values of inclusion, technology, and innovation.

The National Archives considered the initiative's inclusion in the action plan a strategically important way to shape the agenda on open government. It is particularly important for an institution rarely at the forefront of the national debate. According to the National Archives, this initiative stands as an example of self-motivation, as Denmark's OGP action plan encouraged more work on open government within the administration. The National Archives representative suggested to the IRM researcher that a revision of the National Archives Act would help reduce the amount of time (20 years) required before certain documents become publicly available. The representative also stated that the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has limited the amount of data the Archives can make available to the public.[Note : Anne Sofie Fink Kjeldgaard (National Archives), interview by IRM researcher, 30 October 2018; and "Bekendtgørelse af Arkivloven," Retsinformation, https://www.retsinformation.dk/eli/lta/2016/1201. ]

The IRM researcher considers this commitment verifiable in that most of the milestones are concrete (e.g., selection of 10 datasets, publication of presentation video). Milestone 1.2 on "clarification of needs in relation to IT support" seems less specific compared to the others. Successful implementation will depend on the amount of data that is released and how useful the presentation video is to the general public.

Regarding potential impact, this commitment will have a moderate effect. It may open government to citizens and media and allow for historically significant information to be more accessible than previously. The National Archives chose the10 datasets in dialogue with OGP stakeholders (potential users and specialists) within specific themes (e.g., labour market, environment, energy). Through the online availability of these datasets, the Archives seeks to increase public access to national history, not ensure direct policy implications. The commitment's use of technology and innovation in connection with government data could have a positive impact on data access. However, the Archives would need to engage in dissemination efforts for the general public to become aware of the datasets' existence.

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends that the commitment be prioritised and continued in the next action plan. Specifically, the IRM research recommends that:

· A dissemination and communication campaign be prepared to make the general public aware of how to access historical data through the National Archives' inspiration webpage and presentation video;

· A video course be developed, in line with the presentation video, to be shared with universities across Denmark, thereby engaging students who have an interest in open government in OGP;

· A user survey be produced, drawing out potential data catalogue users (from the public or media) and examining how the choice of datasets works and if information is easily accessible;

· The number of datasets be expanded if stakeholders agree that the publication of the first 10 has been successful and useful; and

· A commitment be established in the next action plan regarding the GDPR and its effect on open government in Denmark; the commitment can also address current Danish accessibility laws that require 20 years to pass before certain sensitive documents can be released.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

1. More Open Data for Citizens and Media

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“The Danish National Archives will, in dialogue with OGP stakeholders (potential users and competent persons) select 10 data sets (archive versions) within certain social themes (labour market, environment, traffic, energy supply, health, etc.) This data will be made searchable and ready for download, by means of a publicly available data catalogue.

On its website http://www.sa.dk, the Danish National Archives will present itself as a contributor to the national OGP initiative and create an “inspiration page” to support the active use of open public data by citizens and media within the selected themes. The Danish National Archives will also be offering instruction to users in relation to the specific use of data. The Danish National Archives will mark the launch of the data and inspiration page with a short video that will present the OGP objective and will demonstrate open data in active use, based on accessible data and the inspiration site.”

 

Milestones:

  • Selection of ten data sets in dialogue with stakeholders
  • Clarification of needs in relation to IT support for searches and accessibility in a freely available data catalogue
  • Publication of data in a freely available data catalogue
  • Presentation of OGP initiative on the Danish National Archives website, including setting up a page as inspiration for the use of data
  • Production of presentation video of the Danish National Archives OGP initiative

Start Date: 1 August 2017

End Date: 1 June 2019

Editorial note: For the full text of this commitment, see “The Danish OGP National Action Plan 2017–2019,” Danish Agency for Digitisation, p. 8, https://en.digst.dk/policy-and-strategy/open-government/open-government-partnership-ogp-action-plan/.

IRM Design Report Assessment

IRM Implementation Report Assessment

·       Verifiable: Yes

·       Relevant: Access to information

·       Potential impact: Moderate

·       Completion: Limited

·       Did it Open Government? Did Not Change

This commitment aimed to improve citizens’ and the media’s access to a specific collection of documents and data of historical significance. [1] The goal was for increased access to historical data to contribute to public debate on relevant issues.

The 10 datasets were designated by the National Archives with inputs from relevant stakeholders, and subsequently expanded to a total of 18. Furthermore, it was decided to align datasets with topics found on the European Data Portal, [2] including “health” and “traffic.” The milestones related to IT support and the release of raw data were changed to make way for an alternative approach that focused on releasing summarized data instead of raw data.

Over the course of implementation, it became evident that the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) constituted a significant administrative challenge in terms of releasing personal data. Consequently, no data catalogue is available on the webpage of the National Archives, nor has the accompanying instructive video on data searches been fully finalized. To overcome these challenges, the National Archives opted for a more pragmatic approach to data publication by means of historical and summarized data that relate to the initial selection of datasets—e.g., on transport and health. These studies will be presented on the National Archives webpage with a focus on communicating their use and purpose for end-users instead of releasing data in a raw format. [3] At the time of writing this report, this work is in-progress and the presentation of the above-mentioned studies in an accessible web format is currently being finalized.

As the implementation of the commitment has been halted due to the regulatory constraints of GDPR, the commitment has not led to any changes in access to information by the end of the action plan period. However, the focus of communicating the purpose of selected historical studies as an alternative solution could to enhance discoverability and usability and make data relevant for a broader audience.

[1] “Denmark Design Report 2017–2019”, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM), https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Denmark_Design-Report_2017-2019_EN.pdf.

[2] For a full overview of these topics see: “Home”, European Data Portal, https://www.europeandataportal.eu/en/homepage.

[3] Anne Sofie Fink Kjeldgaard (National Archives), interview by IRM researcher, 7 November 2019.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership