Today, Link Digital launched its first series of whitepapers exploring aspects of the open data and digital ecosystem.

Titled ‘Overcoming current and emerging challenges of the open data ecosystem for organisations’, the paper seeks to do two things. First, to provide a clear understanding of the current state of play relating to open data and data sharing. Second, to introduce Link Digital’s expertise and growing position within this data ecosystem and its value proposition to provide expertise and trusted guidance for organisations seeking to enter this space or build on their existing activities within it.

A lot of ink has been spilled, chronicling the end of the dot-com boom in 2000 and subsequent developments such as the emergence of companies such as Google, eBay and Amazon. But less commented on was the subsequent change in how many organisations have structured their interactions with the data and digital space. Over the last decade, this has seen the convergence of previously separate IT, marketing and communications functions into digital teams with a different and more sophisticated relationship with data and its use. Parallel with this has been a significant transformation in how governments have collected and used data for service delivery and policy formulation, and a corresponding shift – turbocharged by the COVID-19 pandemic – of citizens accessing more government information and services digitally.

The Link Digital paper examines these shifts and the rise of data, not just as a driver of economic value but as something to be made open and shared in the context of improving government policy-making and services and supporting civil society and a more informed citizenry. With a growing recognition of the benefits of open data and data sharing, the paper examines the problems and the barriers preventing the open data movement from growing and reaching its full potential. It discusses some of the frameworks involved in data sharing, including the importance of the Third wave of Open Data and the efforts made to standardise data and data sharing by adopting the FAIR principles to ensure public data can be accessed efficiently and to allow greater interoperability between data sharing portals. In addition, the paper explores the growing global importance of the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN), a piece of open-source software launched in 2006 that can be configured and set up to function as an open data platform once it is deployed and hosted on a web server, of which Link Digital is a co-steward.

This wide-ranging discussion not only serves to highlight Link Digital’s trajectory as a digital service organisation working at the intersection of open data and open source technology. It seeks to actively foreshadow what we believe is our evolving role in relation to the data ecosystem and the new uses that are emerging for open data: in corporate environmental, social, and corporate governance; in helping to foster government policies that address the needs of our rapidly evolving society; in combating disinformation and building trust in government and public institutions; and in helping to build models of artificial intelligence that are more trustworthy, safer, diverse and socially beneficial.

The paper can be downloaded here.

We hope that you find the paper useful. If the content within it resonates with you and your work or provokes questions or debate, you might wish to sign up for the monthly forums held by Link Digital on the last Thursday of every month, Australian EST. These forums will connect you with like-minded experts passionate about the importance of open data and want to stay updated on the latest developments in the field. They are free to attend and open to everyone. Register today.