Towards a sustainable Open Data ECOsystem

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The European data economy is valued to be around EUR 739 billion, and it is expected to grow. However, open data ecosystems are more than often developed in various domains, separate from each other, whereby potential users are often excluded from this process. This has a profound effect on the interoperability and open data reusability for users, innovation, and the creation of new goods and services, amongst others. Addressing this, the EU-funded ODECO project – a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions-Innovative Training Network initiative – will train early-stage open data researchers to tackle the current and future challenges of realising a user-driven, circular and inclusive open data ecosystem.

The central aim of the ODECO consortium network is to train the next generation of creative and innovative early-stage open data researchers, to unlock their creative and innovative potential to address current and future challenges in the creation of user driven, circular and inclusive open data ecosystems. Current developments in the field of open data are characterised as highly fragmented. Open data ecosystems are often developed in different domains in isolation of each other and with little involvement of potential users, resulting in approaches that significantly limit open data reusability for users. This reduces innovation and the ability to create new valued added goods and services. Isolated domains also undermine interoperability for users acting as a barrier to data sharing. Efforts are also uncoordinated in open data training and research, where multidisciplinary approaches are scant.

Bringing together different sectors (research, private sector, government, non-profit) and different perspectives (public administration, law, business, engineering), ODECO aims to address the central challenge of realizing a user driven, circular and inclusive open data ecosystem. Through its novel research and training programme, ODECO will provide early stage researchers with relevant open data knowledge, skills and research experiences that cut across disciplines, domains and sectors. ODECO will pay particular attention to the role and involvement of the multiple user groups in the open data ecosystem, within its research programme and through its public engagement activities. The involvement of sixteen specialist partner organizations in the consortium, in addition to the expert non-academic beneficiary and academic beneficiaries, will help researchers better understand the needs of citizens, journalists, students, large companies and SMEs, NGOs, governments and other stakeholders in the open data ecosystem.

The programme runs between October 2021 and September 2025 and will deliver 15 PhD degrees, in joint supervision and training between the public and private sectors.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 955569.

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