In February 2015, a new Open Data project has been started by the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic. The goal of this project is to establish standards and define procedure of publishing Open Data by public bodies in Czech Republic.
The most valuable outputs of the project will be so called Sample publication plans designed for the purposes and utilization of different kinds of institutions. A sample publication plan will guide an institution in achieving tasks such as
- deciding which datasets should be published as Open Data by the institution (and which from these published datasets should be presented to the public)
- deciding in which formats and structure the datasets should be published,
- proper licensing of the datasets,
- cataloguing the datasets and keeping them up to date.
The sample publication plans will reflect the best practices in publishing Open Data as they will be based on existing methodologies developed by Open Data communities across Europe. One of the main inputs is the methodology for publishing Open Data developed by the COMSODE consortium. The plans will be authorized by the Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic and strongly recommended for all public institutions in Czech Republic. The most important parts of the plans will be consequently implemented to the Czech legislation.
Because different institutions have different needs and capacities, the project will develop different Sample publication plans for the following kinds of institutions:
- other central governmental authorities
- regional authorities
- municipal authorities
For example, the Sample publication plan for ministries will specify that a particular Czech ministry should publish the content of the central registries managed by the ministry as Open Data. It will define the process of such publication and will also standardize the data structures for basic entities which commonly appear in many registries (e.g., addresses, business entities, etc.).
On the other hand, the publication plan for regional and municipal authorities will try to identify the datasets which commonly appear in all regions and municipalities in general. This can be, e.g. a dataset with location of public containers for recycling. Such dataset should be maintained by all municipalities and the Sample publication plan will recommend to publish it as Open Data. Moreover, the value of such dataset decreases as each municipality develops its own form of the dataset (i.e., data format and data fields). Therefore, the Sample publication plan will also provide the basic required structure of such dataset which can then be individually extended by each municipality if necessary.
The reason for starting the project was the fact that many public institutions in Czech Republic started publishing data on their web sites and they call it “Open Data”. However, there are no unifying guidelines when it is appropriate to speak about “Open Data” publishing. Many of them just put some more or less machine readable data files on their web site. However, there is neither proper licensing nor any data catalogue present. Moreover, different formats and data structures are being developed by different institutions for the same kinds of datasets. And his could cause a very poor quality of Czech Open Data in the future.
However, the developed Sample publication plans could bring a positive attitude to this situation. They will be made publicly available in November 2015 on the Open Data project web site (in Czech language only) when the project ends. Moreover, the Sample publication plans will be validated by representatives of various public institutions during the project.
About the author:
Dr. Martin Necasky is an assistant professor at DSE Charles University, Prague. He has published more that 45 refereed conference papers and journal articles. His research focuses on conceptual modelling, information integration, web services, semantic web, and Linked (Open) Data.Social tagging: Czech Republic > open data > Open Data Publication standards > Standard Publication plans