Open Data at the UPF
The OpenData project at the Pompeu Fabra University is an effort to support the OpenData movement in public institutions, especially among European Universities.
What is Open Data?
OpenData can be considered as a worldwide initiative to publish data in a way that can be freely accessible, used, reused and redistributed. Even though is a tendency that is growing fast, it is still an untapped resource that can increase the transparency, accountability and credibility in the activities and processes of organizations. Some examples of OpenData projects are the data portal of the UK Government (data.gov.uk) and the data portal from the United States (www.data.gov).
However, OpenData is not just an effort to promote accountability and transparency; it can also impact directly in the innovation process and in the creation of new business models. That is the reason why it has started to be considered as a priority in organizations, and recently in the higher education sector.
For Instance, the University of Southampton, the Open University, the University of Oxford and the University of Munsters have created their opendata portals, publishing some relevant data of their institutions (such as courses) and have developed some applications that use these data.
Benefits of Open Data
The benefits of OpenData are broad and can have an enormous impact on organizations. Some of the most relevant benefits are:
- The data is easily discoverable, useable, or understandable by the public
- Can increase transparency and accountability about the activities and processes in organizations
- People can use open data to generate insights, ideas, and services
- Can foster the innovation process and be the technological support for the creation of new business models
In the specific case of Universities, OpenData can help for the integration of cross-university data that can support the development of a Web of university data. Linked Universities is an alliance (www. linkeduniversities.org) that supports this idea.
Ckan: A powerful platform for Open Data
In the OpenData project at the UPF, we have considered CKAN as the core platform for opening the University Data. CKAN is the most powerful opendata platform, which is widely used worldwide. It has advanced tools and it can be extended according the necessities of each organization.
During the deployment of this platform in the University, we have had a great support from the CKAN team, and this helped us to develop a complete portal according to our needs.
Structure and Ecosystem of the Open Data project at UPF
The UPF has already developed some efforts to improve its transparency and accountability. The most relevant example is the deployment of the UPF en Xifres (www.upf.edu/xifres). We consider OpenData as the further step on this process, in order to continue publishing the university data in a more understandable, discoverable and connected way.
According to that, the OpenData portal of the UPF is an effort to support the OpenData movement in public institutions (especially in the European Higher Education sector), increasing the transparency of the University and at the same time, improving the innovation process inside the institution.
One of the mail goals of this project is to support the creation of a web of university data. We believe that OpenData is the best approach for the integration of cross university data in a more standardized way.
The following image shows a summary of the OpenData strategy at the UPF: