An Infrastructure for Open, Linked Governmental Data Provision towards Research Communities and Citizens
The promise of open government and the potential for increased
awareness by citizens of government activity and participation in the
institutions of governance have never been greater than they are today, as a
number of important technical and philosophical developments have combined in
the past 10–15 years to bring the open data argument into the mainstream. In
this context, fresh innovative concepts such as the connection of distributed
data (Linked Data paradigm) and social
media collaboration and crowdsourcing have the potential of bringing
unprecented value to re-usable Public Sector Information. Public sector
information is actually the single largest source of information in Europe with
its value in the EU being estimated at €27 billion, which is four times the EU
market for mobile roaming services. These facts show the central role of public
sector content in the digital age as a key driver of economic activity, while a
further increase in the use of this resource shall therefore directly
contribute to the EU's goals of increasing competitiveness.
The main goal of ENGAGE project (full name: “An Infrastructure for Open, Linked Governmental Data Provision towards Research Communities and Citizens") is the development and use of a data infrastructure, incorporating distributed and diverse public sector information (PSI) resources, capable of supporting scientific collaboration and research, particularly for the Social Science and Humanities (SSH) scientific communities, while also empowering the deployment of open governmental data towards citizens.
Simply put, ENGAGE is a door for researchers and citizens that leads them to the world of Open Government Data. By using the ENGAGE platform, researchers and citizens will be able to submit, acquire, search and visualize diverse and distributed Public sector datasets from all the countries of the European Union. Throughout social collaboration Public Sector data will move towards more standardized, effective and semantically enriched structures that will allow PSI re-use reach towards its full potential.
In particular, ENGAGE pursues the following objectives:
- Objective 1: Create an open service platform, integrating large amounts of public sector data, processing tools and resources, in support of the research communities dealing with governance and policy modelling, complex systems simulation, public administration transformation, government 2.0, information and communication technologies, future internet and social sciences.
- Objective 2: Engage citizens into the public service delivery decision making process, by providing accurate information on the operation, cost and overall value of public services, through user-friendly visualisation tools, thus being in the forefront of emerging Open Data initiatives in Europe and the world.
- Objective 3: Explore synergies with current e-Infrastructure projects and e-Infrastructure service providers so as to leverage on existing grid and cloud services for curating, storing, processing and exploiting large amounts of public sector information.
- Objective 4: Contribute to the evolving standardisation for open and linked governmental data, consolidating various approaches for harmonisation, annotation, pre-processing, anonymisation, interoperability and provision of data, from public sector administrations at national, regional or local levels, towards scientists and citizens.
- Objective 5: Empower and engage researchers and actors from non-ICT related disciplines, such as political science, economics, law, sociology, statistics, etc. in experimental research relating to solving complex problems of high importance for the society. ENGAGE will enable researchers from a variety of research fields like social simulation , governance and policy modelling, environmental studies, etc , to do experimental research using its infrastructure.
By reaching the above objectives, ENGAGE will provide services in the data e-Infrastructure layer while on the other hand building a community that can exploit the e-Infrastructure services.
The envisaged impact of ENGAGE is to contribute towards removing the constraints of access and usability as well as the barriers between disciplines, to enable more effective scientific collaboration and adoption of a truly multi-disciplinary approach to public administration and governance related research.
Furthermore, ENGAGE will enable the active reuse of public data towards the generation of more reliable scientific results through social collaboration. The ENGAGE project, having a wide user base apart from the research community (industry, business, policy makers, citizens, educators) will have an impact on innovation, competitiveness, transparency and governance.