A step towards aligning supply and demand? - User involvement in supply of open data among ten Dutch public sector bodies
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Within the strategy for the Digital Single Market, the policy of open data is an important part of the European Commission’s ambitions to create a European information market. Open data is the term for public sector information that has been turned into a machine-readable format and free to reuse. Open data has the potential to create immense value but one condition is that the information is relevant for third parties to create new services with it. Users are important for prioritizing in the supply. However, they are not involved in these decisions. A recent addition to the Dutch open data policy is the prioritization of high value data sets. To find out to what degree users are part of the process of supply, the practices of ten Dutch public sector bodies within the central government have been studied. This study uses a new method for assessing user involvement based on Sheryl Arnstein’s ladder of citizen participation. The results show that the organizations rank high regarding the possibility of user involvement but have low frequency of such practices. It was thus argued that the assessment model should be broadened to include the frequency with which an act is made. In order to enhance the user involvement, and the provision of valuable data, the organizations should find out who their users are. Additionally, demand should be given a clearer part in the decision on high value data sets.