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The University of Southampton

Southampton to help make public data available to every European resident

Published: 24 February 2015

The University of Southampton is to help develop, launch and operate a single pan-European Open Data Portal, which will bring together public data resources from all over Europe.

Data will be available to every European resident
Improving data discovery

The portal will cover all 39 European countries, improving data discovery and the ability to re-use the data. The data is to be made fully public, so the information will be available to every European resident.

Capgemini Consulting, the strategy and transformation consulting arm of the Capgemini Group - one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services - will lead the three-year European Commission project. It will co-ordinate a number of consortium members and subcontractors, including Capgemini’s Group subsidiary - Sogeti, Intrasoft International, the Open Data Institute, Fraunhofer FOKUS, con terra, the University of Southampton and time.lex.

Researchers from the University’s Web and Internet Science research group will help to develop and maintain the portal, through their extensive experience in open data technology and techniques. They will also be involved in outreach activities to encourage the uptake of data supply by European governments and promoting the re-use of public data resources by a broad range of users.

John Darlington, from Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, says: “Our research and leadership has helped drive forward the development of the open data movement globally. In the UK, our work has helped inform and set government policy in the use of public data and established the UK at the forefront of the global data revolution. We have pioneered many methods to harvest and integrate diverse information, producing the first comprehensive applications using linked data approaches.”

The consortium will support public administrations in each of the 39 countries with the implementation of policies regarding open data, to ensure significant uptake on the publication and supply of open data. It will also provide evidence on the economic impact of the re-use of public data resources, as detailed in the recent G8 Charter. This includes promoting knowledge on the organisational and technical requirements to foster the publication of open data resources, providing training, developing strategies for interaction with user groups and promoting the use of re-use friendly licensing conditions.

The private sector will also be engaged to make best use of open data for the creation of new products and services, while citizens will be equipped to make more informed choices. The project will cover the whole data value chain from progress on the EU’s aid spend by country, through to detailed information on research projects funded by the EU or data on pollutant release and transfer from industrial facilities.

In addition to developing and launching the European Open Data Portal, the contract, worth several million Euros, will include services to enable the viewing of published public data resources collected by public administrations in EU Member States and the other countries of the European Economic Area (EEA)1 on (open) data portals. Services will also include the preparation of analytical reports, a study on the economic impact of the publishing of public data resources by public administrations and a report on the sustainability of (open) data portal infrastructures.

Professor Michael Butler, Associate Dean (Enterprise and Impact) for the University’s Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, said: “Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton has been recognised as UK leading for it's research and our work in open data is rated as world-leading/internationally excellent in its impact. Our involvement in such a prestigious European Commission open data project will allow us to continue to demonstrate our ability not only to undertake globally important research, but to follow this through into impact for society.”

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