The recent decision of British people about leaving the EU introduces lots of uncertainties. One of them, and I am rather sure that it will not be on the core of the discussions is about opening their research. it is a brave decision of the EU research program to force every entity using their public funds of research and development to open access their results and to release as open data the underlying data.

It is true that UK is possibly one of the leaders of the open movement around the world, but now nobody will force them to adopt such measure and I am afraid that there will be rather busy with other ‘minor’ issues about leaving the EU.

However the EU has to face a challenge. The 80.000 M€ (current budget of the Horizon 2020 R+D programme) will produce a huge amount of data, even beyond those that naturally are emerging from those projects that voluntary are releasing data.

opendata_sources (source Opendatainception.io)
How will we manage so many data? And most important, how are we going to standardised those data in order to make them easily available for the creation of new knowledge and social and economic impact? What will be effectively reusable?

Currently the Pan-EU open data portal aggregates more than a quarter of a million datasets. They are struggling to connect the 61 sources of data. Unless we face it NOW we will be wasting our efforts to change the society. It is true that the recent DCAT 1.1 standard is helping to ‘show’ their data and make it available in a comprehensive way, but it does not mean that the data are easily connected. the initiatives of GeoDCAT and StatDCAT are on its way but I am afraid that we need much more than this.

As my 2 cents contribution I would like to see a conference between open data repositories across the world to boost this kind of standardisation, even as a draft while standardisation bodies are doing their work (rather slow for the needs of this market). We need a quick access to bring about those topics needed to be discussed. Maybe the coming open data world conference in Madrid on the 6 and 7th of October could be the right place to launch such initiative. At very local level initiatives like ‘initiative Barcelona Open Data’ will do its part.

Alberto Abella

Cofounder Initiative Barcelona Open Data

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