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27 December 2012, 12:44

EU Commission launches beta version of Open Data portal

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Just before Christmas – and without any major announcement – the EU launched a beta version of its proposed Open Data portal. The platform is intended to provide uniform access to the EU Commission's and other EU institutions' data. The official launch is scheduled for January 2013. The platform's target groups include business users, scientists, journalists and other interested citizens.

The new portal currently contains a total of 5,911 data records, the majority of which (5,634) originate from the EU's Eurostat statistics authority. The portal has been furnished with a meta data vocabulary and a SparQL endpoint for database queries. Applications that are based on the EU's Open Data portal are to be listed on the web site – only two applications, both from the Institute for Applied Computer Science at Leipzig University, which is conducting two EU-subsidised research projects in the LinkedData area, are currently registered there.

Meanwhile, the EU's relevant legislative directive that regulates the release and availability of Public Sector Information (PSI) is currently undergoing a revision. Most of the Open Data key players consider the directive, which dates back to 2003, to be slightly outdated; it is being revised at EU level as part of the EU Directorate General for Communications Networks' (DG Connect) Open Data strategy and will then need to be implemented by the national legislators. While Open Data portals already exist in various EU member states, several governments have not implemented their own yet. For example, Open Data activists and representatives from industry and science have repeatedly complained that the German public authorities continue to pursue a policy of locking away their data instead of making it publicly available.

By contrast, just over two years ago, the UK government launched its open data portal, This currently houses over 8,000 datasets from central government departments and other public sector bodies and local authorities.

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(Falk Lüke / ehe)

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