Data is the foundation of a modern state and a mature society. Utilising data can create huge benefits not only for citizens, business and academia, but also for government and administration. This is why up-to-date, freely accessible and machine-readable data is of critical importance to making fact-based decisions. At the same time, forward-looking technologies such as artificial intelligence and applications in the field of smart cities rely on a rich and high-quality knowledge base being continuously available.
An open data pool for public administration
Public administration has an active role to play in the development of open data. Through their duties under public law, federal agencies collect large amounts of data of many different kinds and thereby have a huge data pool at their disposal. If this data pool is to be used by more than just the agency that originally collected it, the data should – within the existing legal framework – be made available without cost as widely as possible among citizens, businesses, academia, social institutions and initiatives, and also public administration bodies.
According to the definition in the EU’s directive on open data and the reuse of public sector information (Directive (EU) 2019/1024), data is “open” if it “can be freely used, re-used and shared by anyone for any purpose”.
The Federal Government's Open Data Strategy
The Federal Government sees open data as a key driver behind innovation in Germany. For the benefit of a living democracy and a modern society, this requires significantly improving the quality and quantity of administrative data and making it available as open data. Furthermore, the Open Data Strategy aims to serve as an initiative that will motivate business, academia and society at large to boost open data provision.
You can download the Federal Government’s Open Data Strategy here.
To achieve this, the Open Data Strategy presents its goals for Germany and a range of other issues in four chapters. These include the opportunities and benefits of open data, the question of where Germany currently stands with open data, and a package of measures aimed at making the state a trailblazer for open data.
Data: infrastructure, utilisation and competence
The Strategy includes a package of 68 measures across three areas of action:
- Improving the provision of data and creating powerful and sustainable data infrastructures. This concerns data from health, public procurement, integrity and corruption prevention, mobility and the economy, for example. In addition to this, the provision of unified and standardised IT support is planned for the administration and publication of open data from the Federal Administration.
- Enhancing the innovative and responsible use of data. This concerns the further development of specialist portals and data visualisation platforms, for example.
- Developing data competency and establishing a data culture. In order to boost data competence, the Open Data Competence Centre within the Federal Office of Administration will work with the Federal Academy of Public Administration to develop a diverse professional development package and create a catalogue of open data topics within federal administration.
The Federal Government Data Strategy forms a generic framework for the Federal Government's activities around data policy. As this already includes open data, it is a key foundation for the new Open Data Strategy. The Open Data Strategy also gives consideration to the Federal Government's aims in its artificial intelligence strategy (expanding the availability of administration data for AI); the implementation strategy for digital transformation (establishing open data as a key digital resource); and the continuation of the national E-Government Strategy (technological developments as a powerful influence on the future of administration).