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Germany

Open Data Environment (DE0003)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Germany National Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI)

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Capacity Building, Open Data, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Germany Implementation Report 2017-2019, Germany Design Report 2017-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Description: Identifying and reducing shortcomings and unresolved questions to establish a reliable open data ecosystem. Communicating with stakeholders to promote the use and quality of open data. Aim: To promote the provision of open data, intensifying dialogue with the research community, civil society, businesses and international partners by discussing the need for open data, improving the quality of publication and sharing experiences. Status quo: The open data legislation will significantly increase the amount of data provided by public administration. However, good, useful open data services rely not only on quantity but also on quality. By participating in OGP, Germany has committed itself to the principles of open and transparent government. In addition to accumulating knowledge in public administration, dialogue with civil society and international exchange therefore play an important role. To ensure a balanced approach which is in line with other countries’ practices of providing data, we need to identify and effectively overcome existing shortcomings and clarify unresolved questions. Ambition: The Federal Government wants to become a pioneer in the field of open data. Existing potential for improvement must be identified and shortcomings must be reduced. Action should be tailored to the users’ needs. New or ongoing: new Implemented by: Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) Organizations involved in implementation: - Organizational unit and contact: Division O1, O1@bmi.bund.de Open government values addressed: Transparency, innovation Relevance: Open data create transparency and are therefore a basis for open government

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Promoting the Open Data Environment

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

“Identifying and reducing shortcomings and unresolved questions to establish a reliable open data ecosystem. Communicating with stakeholders to promote the use and quality of open data.”

Milestones:

3.1 Evaluating the recommendations for action made in the study “Open Government Data Deutschland” (Klessmann et al., July 2012)

3.2 Establishing an informal dialogue to discuss legal, technical and organizational challenges when publishing government data

3.3 Analysing possibilities to improve open data rankings, e.g. OD Barometer (World Wide Web Foundation), Open Data Index (OKF), OURData Index (OECD) and ODIN (Open Data Watch)

3.4 Carrying out or participating in workshops with civil society, associations, journalists, start-ups and researchers to promote re-use, assess needs and improve data quality

3.5 Analysing the International Open Data Charter from a German perspective

3.6 International experience-sharing, e.g. by contributing to the OGP Open Data Working Group and continuing DACHLi (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein) talks

Start Date: July 2017

End Date: June 2019

Context and Objectives

This commitment aims to “promote the provision of open data, intensifying dialogue with the research community, civil society, businesses and international partners by discussing the need for open data, improving the quality of publication and sharing experiences.” [11] This action is premised on the view that “dialogue with civil society and international exchange . . . play an important role” [12] in enhancing the quality and user-centric nature of data provided using international best practice in this area. Civil society and international policy actors are carrying out robust diagnostic exercises and cross-country open data performance assessments. It is sensible to ensure that Germany fully benefits from the evidence collected and from the experience and expertise of civil society.

The commitment’s premises and ambitions make it relevant to OGP values. It aims for civil society and the broader community of practice to engage with the government and administration on open data. The commitment adopts an eco-system approach that acknowledges the indispensable—and, if approached well, synergistic—interplay between open data users and providers. This approach aligns with evolving thinking on how to make open government and open data most effective and impactful. The international and comparative outlook is, in the IRM researcher’s view, well suited to maximize learning and cross-fertilization opportunities. Additionally, the commitment could help identify gaps in data provision and other shortcomings. These characteristics make the commitment relevant not only to access to information, but also to civic participation.

The milestones comprise many important activities. They cover the review of practical action taken in response to an analysis of the technical, organizational, and legal environment of open data in Germany (3.1). In addition, they outline several activities to analyze and engage actively with exercises that evaluate and help advance the open government and open data agenda (3.2–3.5). The milestones also reaffirm the commitment to cross-country dialogue (3.6). However, the milestones lack specific implementation details, such as specific output formats or quality parameters.

If executed to high standards of rigor and quality, and if translated into effective follow-up action to fill the identified gaps and shortcomings, this commitment could be a building block for transformative impact. As it stands, however, it is rated as moderate due to the lack of specificity and a missing pathway for taking follow-up action.

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends making these commitments and their follow-up an integral part of the next action plan. In the short term, the IRM researcher suggests adding output formats (e.g., a publicly available and discussable synthesis report that outlines learnings, priorities for improvement, and concrete recommendations on how to address them). This inclusion should also entail outlining follow-up actions. Such action should create confidence in and accountability for the full consideration of lessons learned and insights gathered in the next action plan and the federal government’s broader activities on open data. For example, these follow-up items can be listed in the form of a “next-steps” brief with a timeline.

[11] Federal Government of Germany, First National Action Plan 2017–2019, July 2017, 13, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/germany-action-plan-2019-2021/.

[12] Ibid.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

3. Promoting the Open Data Environment

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

“Identifying and reducing shortcomings and unresolved questions to establish a reliable open data ecosystem. Communicating with stakeholders to promote the use and quality of open data.”

Milestones:

3.1 Evaluating the recommendations for action made in the study “Open Government Data Deutschland” (Klessmann et al., July 2012)

3.2 Establishing an informal dialogue to discuss legal, technical and organizational challenges when publishing government data

3.3 Analysing possibilities to improve open data rankings, e.g. OD Barometer (World Wide Web Foundation), Open Data Index (OKF), OURData Index (OECD) and ODIN (Open Data Watch)

3.4 Carrying out or participating in workshops with civil society, associations, journalists, start-ups and researchers to promote re-use, assess needs and improve data quality

3.5 Analysing the International Open Data Charter from a German perspective

3.6 International experience-sharing, e.g. by contributing to the OGP Open Data Working Group and continuing DACHLi (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein) talks

Start Date: July 2017

End Date: June 2019

This commitment focused on improving the broader open data ecosystem in Germany. More specifically, it aimed at “intensifying dialogue with the research community, civil society, businesses and international partners by discussing the need for open data, improving the quality of data and sharing experiences.” [22]

Overall, this commitment saw substantial completion, though an intra-ministerial re-assignment of responsibilities during the implementation period created some delays.

Milestones 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, and 3.5 referred to internal and informal analysis and communication processes that have taken place inside and across ministries. However, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community provided the IRM researcher with evidence of their completion. Such evidence included an excerpt from an internal presentation (milestone 3.1), and two separate internal presentations of analyses delivered on 7 March 2019 (milestone 3.3) and 22 March 2019 (milestone 3.5). Taken together, the different presentation/meeting dates enable the conclusion that milestone 3.2 (informal dialogue) has been implemented as well. Similar to Commitment 2, making some of the analytical materials and reflections produced internally available to the broader public could have offered more opportunities for stakeholder engagement.

Milestones 3.4 and 3.6 referred to public events where participation of the open data team by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community is well documented. Examples of this participation include the Berlin Open Data Day 2018, the kick-off meeting for Germany’s first OGP action plan, the European Data Portal workshop on Open Data Quality, and the Open Data D-A-CH-LI conference for German-speaking countries. [23]

With regard to overall achievements so far, it is best to consider Commitments 2 and 3 together, as they both focused on providing the basic infrastructure for open data. The joint evidence suggests a gradually expanding infrastructure for open data, more intra-governmental dialogue, and greater levels of awareness inside government of the relative standing of Germany regarding open data. However, the country still trails other OECD countries’ active support for data reuse. [24] For example, 64 percent of the 53 federal agencies that responded to a survey indicated having no knowledge of further usage of their published data, though this could be due to the newness of the system. [25] This comprehensive evaluation of progress in open data is itself indicative of the limited focus on user-centricity, as its approach was limited to surveying the supply side (federal agencies) but not the demand side (actual and potential open data users outside the federal administration). [26] Taken together, these commitments have led to marginal improvements in Germany’s open data ecosystem.

Establishing Germany as a leader on open data, maximizing the public value of government-held data, and building a strong open data ecosystem will require a substantive shift towards user-orientation and collaboration. Two high-profile expert commissions established by the federal government, the data ethics commission, and the competition 4.0 commission, have independently identified the lack of enforceable individual rights and entitlements to open data provision as a central obstacle to progress. [27] The envisaged refresh of the open data law [28] and the ongoing design of a data strategy for the federal government could provide a good opportunity for a substantive shift in this direction.

[22] Federal Government of Germany, First National Action Plan 2017–2019, July 2017, 13, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Germany_NAP_2017-2019_ENG-transl.pdf.

[23] Berlin Open Data Day 2018, https://app.mateforevents.com/r/opendataday2018; kick-off meeting for Germany’s first OGP action plan 1, https://www.open-government-deutschland.de/opengov-de/konsultationsphase-fuer-den-zweiten-aktionsplan-gestartet-1591314; international exchange at the European Data Portal workshop on Open Data Quality, https://www.europeandataportal.eu/en/news/summary-edps-open-data-quality-workshop; Open Data D-A-CH-Li Konferenz 2019, https://www.smartcountry.berlin/SmartCountryConvention/Programm/Event.jsp?pageTitle=Open+Data+D-A-CH-LI+Konferenz&eventDateId=586159

[24] Both the OECD 2019 Government at a Glance report and the 2019 EU Open Data Maturity assessment identify data reuse as an area with particular room for improvement in Germany, https://www.europeandataportal.eu/sites/default/files/country-factsheet_germany_2019.pdf; https://www.oecd.org/gov/gov-at-a-glance-2019-germany.pdf

[25] Deutscher Bundestag 2019, Unterrichtung durch die Bundesregierung Erster Bericht der Bundesregierung über die Fortschritte bei der Bereitstellung von Daten, Drucksache 19/14140, http://dip21.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/19/141/1914140.pdf

[26] Ibid.

[27] Datenethikkommission 2019, Gutachen der Datenethikkommission, October 2019, https://www.bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/downloads/DE/publikationen/themen/it-digitalpolitik/gutachten-datenethikkommission.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=5, Ein neuer Wettbewerbsrahmen für die Digitalwirtschaft, https://www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/DE/Publikationen/Wirtschaft/bericht-der-kommission-wettbewerbsrecht-4-0.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=12, A New Competition Framework for the Digital Economy Report by the Commission ‘Competition Law 4.0’, 9September 2019.

[28] Gesetz zur Förderung der elektronischen Verwaltung (E-Government-Gesetz - EGovG) § 12a Offene Daten der Behörden der unmittelbaren Bundesverwaltung (§ 12a EGovG), https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/egovg/__12a.html


Commitments

  1. Participatory Development of Research and Innovation Policy

    DE0022, 2019, Public Participation

  2. Participatory Creation of Regulatory Policy

    DE0023, 2019, Open Regulations

  3. Digital Strategy Pilot for Rural Regions

    DE0024, 2019, Public Service Delivery

  4. Open Government in North Rhine-Westphalia

    DE0025, 2019, Access to Information

  5. Policy Co-Creation in North Rhine-Westphalia

    DE0026, 2019, Land Rights and Spatial Planning

  6. Data Sovereignty in North Rhine-Westphalia

    DE0027, 2019, Access to Information

  7. Open Government Portal in Saxony

    DE0028, 2019, E-Government

  8. Open-Source Software in Public Administrations in Schleswig-Holstein

    DE0029, 2019, Subnational

  9. Regional Open Government Labs

    DE0016, 2019, Public Participation

  10. Civil Society Consulation on Foreign Policy

    DE0017, 2019,

  11. Create Youth Strategy

    DE0018, 2019, Marginalized Communities

  12. Craete Federal Agency for Digital Innovation

    DE0019, 2019,

  13. Transparency and Participation in International Aid

    DE0020, 2019, Access to Information

  14. Strengthen and Socialize Open Data Policy

    DE0021, 2019, Access to Information

  15. Conditions for OGP Participation

    DE0001, 2017,

  16. Open Data in Administrative Practice

    DE0002, 2017, Access to Information

  17. Open Data Environment

    DE0003, 2017, Access to Information

  18. Access to Spatial Data

    DE0004, 2017, Access to Information

  19. Financial Transparency - EITI Standard

    DE0005, 2017, Access to Information

  20. Transparency in Development Policy

    DE0006, 2017, Access to Information

  21. Open Data for Intelligent Mobility

    DE0007, 2017, Access to Information

  22. Citizen Participation in Environmental Policy and Urban Development

    DE0008, 2017, Capacity Building

  23. Electronic Procedures for Family Benefits

    DE0009, 2017, E-Government

  24. Knowledge Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People

    DE0010, 2017, E-Government

  25. Local Alliances for Family Initiative

    DE0011, 2017, Public Participation

  26. Share of Women and Men in Leadership Positions, Private and Private Sectors

    DE0012, 2017, E-Government

  27. Open Access to Academic Literature

    DE0013, 2017, E-Government

  28. Science Year 2018

    DE0014, 2017, Public Participation

  29. Federal Competition “Living Together Hand in Hand”

    DE0015, 2017, Citizenship & Immigration

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