Build Open Data Portal, and Integrate Into the European Single Digital Market. (LT0015)
Action Plan: Lithuania National Action Plan 2016-2018
Action Plan Cycle: 2016
Lead Institution: Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of Transport and Communications
Support Institution(s): Ministries and their subordinate bodies.
Policy AreasAccess to Information, Capacity Building, E-Government, Open Data, Records Management
Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment Opening of public sector data encourages effective re-use of public sector information for the development of innovative e-services, and it also serves as significant potential for business development, being particularly relevant for small and medium businesses. So far, no adequate conditions have been provided in Lithuania for full-fledged use of information collected by public institutions. Although the state has stored volumes of digital information resources capable of ensuring smooth inter-institutional communication and communication with citizens and businesses, there are no required conditions for opening up public data for private use. Only a small part of the institutions supply data files in open formats suitable for creation of machine-reading and further processing services. Most of the data are supplied in fragmented transcripts or formats unsuitable for machine reading, or they are not supplied at all, as they are related to personal data, or national economic, social, judicial or other interests, data subject information or other information of legally restricted public use. EU Member States and the Europe are developing open data access tools that allow EU Member States to access and dispose of information resources of other EU Member States. However, Lithuania has not as yet had the necessary infrastructure for supplying open data to EU Member States, or for accessing and disposing of other EU Member States’ open data, as it integrates in a single European digital market. Main objective Create centrally managed technical tools enabling people and businesses to have, without preconditions, a convenient access to public sector data for business development and non-governmental initiatives. Brief description of commitment The EU policy trends, related strategic documents, as well as the latest developments in the area of open data in Lithuania, have necessitated the development of IT infrastructure, the open data portal for opening Lithuanian public data to business and people, which would enable a free and convenient access to data managed by Lithuanian and EU public institutions, for the purpose of business development as well as non-governmental initiatives. The open data portal would centrally store and distribute the metadata of open data, provide for central handling of open data in terms of their preparation, procession, compilation, retrieval and convenient delivery to users, which would otherwise require more resources from individual institutions, and the entire public sector to that matter; it would also make available all open data-based applications. Centrally handled anonymization of the information, removal of commercial information or other legally protected information, conversion to open formats would enable a more flexible and relatively cheaper implementation of technological solutions improving access to open data. The national open data portal will be integrated with the EU Open Data Portal providing access to the open data spaces.
IRM Midterm Status Summary
1.1. Creation of an open data portal combining requisite technological means of metadata management, data anonymization and elimination, other statutory access restrictions, data conversion to open formats, finding semantic relationships, data retrieval and presentation management.
1.2. Creation/application of the existing interface required for an automated data delivery.
1.3. Development of metadata management guide, training of professionals in state institutions.
1.4. Integration of the open data portal with the EU Open Data Portal.
Responsible institution: Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of Transport and Communications
Supporting institutions: Ministries and their subordinate bodies
Start date: 31 May 2016
End date: 31 December 2018
Context and Objectives
The commitment aims to create a centrally managed open data platform for citizens and businesses to access public sector data and reuse it for both non-profit and for-profit initiatives. The commitment also calls for training state professionals to manage data, and for the open data portal to be integrated into the European Union (EU) single digital portal. Lithuania committed to open its data in 2013 when it set the strategic direction to create an information society.[Note: The report of National Audit Office about open data in Lithuania, No. VA-P-900-1-25, 29 November 2016, https://www.vkontrole.lt/pranesimas_spaudai.aspx?id=22997. ] However, there have been no substantial changes since. According to the National Audit Office, 95 percent of public sector institutions have not inventoried their data, and no one knows the exact scope of data held by public sector institutions.[Note: The report of National Audit Office about open data in Lithuania, No. VA-P-900-1-25, 29 November 2016, https://www.vkontrole.lt/pranesimas_spaudai.aspx?id=22997. ]
The commitment outlines specific steps towards building Lithuania’s open data portal, such as training state officials in data management and integrating the portal with the EU Open Data Portal. However, it does not disclose the scope of institutions it would target, instead referring to the general term of 'public sector,' nor does it identify the scope of the data to be opened. According to Julius Belickas from the Information Society Development Committee, this information will be available once public procurements are finished and selected service providers issue their calculations and analyses.[Note: Julius Belickas, Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, interview by IRM researcher, 15 September 2017.] Therefore, the commitment’s specificity is medium. The National Audit Office calculates that opening public sector data would bring an added value worth 2 percent of Lithuania’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (approx. 800 million EUR) to the country’s economy.[Note: The report of National Audit Office about open data in Lithuania, No. VA-P-900-1-25, 29 November 2016, https://www.vkontrole.lt/pranesimas_spaudai.aspx?id=22997. ] If fully created, the open data portal could have a potentially transformative impact on the way public sector data is stored and accessed in Lithuania. Currently, open data is not prioritized in Lithuania, and there is no central database that offers open data of public sector institutions free of charge. However, according to Povilas Poderskis, the programmer and founder of the online platform Freedata.lt, the commitment might not have enough government support to open government.[Note: Povilas Poderskis, interview by IRM researcher, 27 September 2017.]
At the time of writing this report, the Information Society Development Committee, under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, was in the process of implementing all four milestones. Those milestones were incorporated into public procurements that aim to have a selected service provider complete them.[Note: Central Public procurement portal, open call for technical solutions, https://goo.gl/6ZGtff, https://goo.gl/57Z3wx. ] The procurement to develop public sector capacity and draft methodological guidelines for the portal has already been launched, and currently the Information Society Development Committee is evaluating the proposals. The other procurement is for the creation of the portal, which is still in its draft stage.[Note: A copy of draft documentation was received by IRM researcher by email, 15 September 2017.] It will be finalized once the funding to implement the commitment is allocated.[Note: Project proposal to get funding for open data portal, No. 02.2.1-CPVA-V-523-01, current stage – 'under evaluation,' https://goo.gl/ZjuSvy. ] Procurement documents show that the duration of work is planned to be 29 months, with the possibility to prolong the contract.[Note: Central Public procurement portal, procurement specifications, https://goo.gl/6ZGtff. ]
Julius Belickas from the Information Society Development Committee under the Ministry of Transport and Communications said that before launching the portal on a national level, it will be tested on several institutions, namely the State Labour Inspectorate, the National Paying Agency under the Ministry of Agriculture, the Centre of Information Technologies in Education, the Lithuanian Labour Exchange, and the Centre for Agriculture.[Note: An email to IRM researcher, 18 September 2017. ]
According to the action plan, all milestones must be fulfilled before 31 December 2018. As there is no timeline for interim activities, the IRM researcher cannot track the schedule in more detail. However, procurement documents suggest the commitment might not be implemented until the deadline (as the work is planned to take place for 29 months with the possibility to prolong the contract).
The commitment is important to change the nature of accessing public sector data, but it should be more detailed and specific in the action plan. The IRM researcher recommends breaking down the milestones into lower scale activities through public procurement specifications. This would help measure the success of each milestone and the commitment as a whole. The IRM researcher also recommends consulting possible stakeholders before prioritizing data, which would better address the needs of potential users and ensure a more effective work planning.