Skip to main content

Are you a mature open data publisher?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Open data

Here at Defra we are working towards being open data exemplars, through our Open Data Strategy we are committed to publishing as much of our corporate, operational & research data as possible as open data under the Open Government Licence and reusing other peoples open data to reduce our costs. However we identified that we could not measure how good we were at publishing and using open data.  We have been working to define an Open Data Maturity model to enable us to measure this.

Becoming an open data publisher is a significant and complex change involving lots of people from across the Defra Network of 35 organisations! We need to put in place strategy, procedures, infrastructure, funding, and support, and we need to develop the skills and knowledge of staff from across our organisations.

Inevitably different teams and organisations within the Defra Network are at different stages on their open data journey. To get a better understanding of progress being made and to provide advice and guidance to teams and organisations we identified a need for an Open Data Maturity Model.

Building a model

This challenge is not unique to Defra and we want to build a model that can be used across the public sector. Thanks to funding secured from the Open Data User Group’s Release of Data Fund we have been able to do this by developing a model in partnership with the Open Data Institute.

The Open Data Maturity Model will enable organisations to assess their maturity by assessing their:

  1. Data Management Processes -- identifies the key business processes that underpin data management and publication, including quality control, publication workflows,and adoption of technical standards.
  2. Knowledge & Skills -- highlights the steps required to create a culture of open data within an organisation by identifying the knowledge sharing, training and skills development required for staff to development an understanding of the benefits of open data and how to realise them in their work
  3. Customer Support & Engagement -- addresses the requirement for an organisation to engage with their data sources and re-users to provide sufficient support and feedback to make open data successful
  4. Investment & Financial Performance -- covers the need for organisations to have insight into the value of their datasets and appropriate budget and financial investment required to support their publication; in terms of data consumption organisations will need to understand the costs and value associated with re-use of third-party datasets
  5. Strategy & Governance -- addresses the need for an organisation to have a clear strategy around both data sharing and reuse, identified leadership and roles with responsibility and authority to deliver that strategy according to a clearly defined plan

Feedback Requested

To ensure the model meets a wide range of needs and is a valuable tool we have published a draft of the model for review. The draft consists of an assessment grid that identifies the key elements of the model and a supporting guidance document that details how the model has been constructed and the activities it references.

We’d welcome your feedback on any aspect of the grid or the model:

Alternatively feel free to email any comments or thoughts to Leigh Dodds at ODI.

We’re aiming to publish a finalised version of the model in March once comments have been processed So please provide your feedback by Friday 13 March.

In parallel we are moving on to the second phase of the project which will develop an Online Assessment Tool to help organisations apply the model and get pointers on how to become a more mature open data publisher and user.

Keith Williamson (, Licenced Under CC BY 2.0.
Mature Blue Stilton



Sharing and comments

Share this page

1 comment

  1. Comment by Andrew Newman posted on

    The Open Data Institute (ODI) are running a competition to help find a great name for their forthcoming Open Data Maturity Assessment Tool. Suggest the best name and win £50, entries close Friday 13th March.

    See the ODI Blog at for details on how to enter and T&C's.