Welcome to this exploration of data portals and citizen engagement. This micro-site acts as an exploratory project carried out for the Open Data Institute between September 2021 and March 2022.
Portals have been an integral part of the open data movement. They provided a space for publishing and curation of data for governments (usually), and a space to discover and access data for users (often individuals, civil society organisations or sometimes private sector organisations building services or deriving insights from this data).
While many data portals are still maintained, and while some of them enable access to a sizeable amount of data, portals face some big questions in the decade ahead:
Are open data portals still fit for purpose (and if so, which purpose)?
Do open data portals still “make sense” in this decade, or are they a public sector anomaly in a context when data lakes, data meshes, data platforms are adopted across industry? Is there a minimum viable spec for a future-proof open data “portal”?
What roles and activities have emerged around data platforms and portals that deserve to be codified and supported by the future type of platforms?
Could re-imagined open data “platforms” create change in the role of the public service organisation with regards to data (from publisher to… steward?)?
How can a new generation of portals or data platforms better support citizen engagement and civic participation?
What differences are there between the private and public approaches, and why? Does any difference introduce any significant dynamics in private / public open data ecosystems?
These questions, and others, framed a short exploration hosted by The Open Data Institute into the future of data portals, platforms and citizen engagement. Led by Rachel Wilson, in collaboration with ODI Associate Consultant Tim Davies, between September 2021, and March 2022, we went through a short discovery process and design sprints in order to take stock of the state of portals, and explore possible futures.
Here you will find a collection of our work-in-progress writing, and outputs of that process.
For more information on the next stages of this work, please contact Rachel Wilson: [email protected]