Plans unveiled for European public sector data mega portal

The European Commission is planning to build a data portal to allow the public to access and compare all data published by public bodies in the European Union.

The commission has launched a tender for a 38 month contract for the provision of the mega portal, which is partly aimed at stimulating private sector firms to create commercial apps based on the data.

The tender document said that the creation of the infrastructure could encourage the alignment of data formats and metadata across all government organisations on the continent.

It said: “The objective of the pan-European web-based data portal infrastructure is to make available all data published by public administrations in Europe at all levels of government, including the EU institutions and bodies on dedicated web portals in one single place.

“It will thus include data that comply with the definition of ‘open data’ but also data that do not comply with that definition.”

The development would encourage common data standards, data models and entity identifiers, as well as data linkage best practice, the document said.

Currently, because of the diffuse nature of data collection, information is made available in different formats, as well as being hampered by legal and linguistic barriers.

The tender said: “The result is that only a limited number of added-value information products and services go beyond the borders of one EU member state.”

The portal infrastructure will normally not host datasets – rather it would store metadata on them and link to the websites of public bodies where the datasets are held.

The successful bidder for the contract will be required to produce a report containing 20 case studies where the portal had been used by the private sector.

The study will also indicate the size of the market for projects and services based on public data resources, as well as productivity gains, additional jobs created and value as a percentage of GDP.

Bids are being accepted until 8 September.

Colin Marrs

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