Experts do not come to common understanding of open data portal' nature and purpose

17 february 2015

The roundtable on "Russia's open data portal: functionality, structure, interfaces" took place at the Analytical Center. Experts have discussed the portal' functional relevance as well as its structure's improvement.

"The open data portal is a communicator, working with specially processed data, i.e. with information transferred to a computer-readable format in accordance with relevant guidelines", said Yuri Linkov, the Deputy Director of the Project Management Department of Gosbuk JSC. The expert noted, among the key features of the portal, the possibility of a request for publication of the open data, its search, the possibility to review applications, easy access to public data sets for developers, a forum, blogging, sending personal messages and user reviews. There is now an increased need for centralized access to information resources, so it was published more than 2,000 data sets, according to the expert. "The portal includes new features. In the coming months it will be redesigned, the personality module will be further developed, it will vary in accordance with experts' proposals", said Mr. Linkov.

Referring to studies, Galina Gradoselskaya, the expert of the Analytical Center, noted the ambiguity of understanding the essence of the term "open data" and the purpose of their publication among experts. "There is a loss of understanding of the need for a common portal, public meanings, because each department has its own portal", said the expert. There are big problems in the structural and functional content of the portal, as well as in a meaning gap between the level of "high conceptualization" and the technical implementation, according to Ms. Gradoselskaya. "The usefulness and effectiveness of the portal is questionable for almost all participants of the process, because the portal still does not perform the basic function - to inform the general public about activities of the state", said the expert. A need for the full study (questionnaires and interviews) with the participation of key target audiences of the portal was noted. Also, it is necessary to develop the structure of data acquisition and processing and their relationships at all levels: regional, federal, interagency, and others, considers the expert.

Participants of the event noted that the portal still has a few interesting datasets. The question of filling the resource is also not clear yet. But since there is an affected legal sphere, then it requires a separate discussion, according to experts.