The Opening Up project provided a strong single point of focus spanning the North Sea Region in order to consider the various problems and challenges raised by the emergence of social media and open data that are being faced by governments, municipalities, businesses and citizens across the region.
Opening Up acted as a booster project, supporting innovation across the region and using the project’s pilots, outputs, research, tools and training together to provide a ‘step change’ in service design and delivery across the region and across the public and private sector.
New forms of social media – blogs, social networks, chat sites etc. – have become an established part of our daily lives. 80% of young (16-24) internet users and 40% of those aged 25-54 in the EU27 are already actively using some form of social media. By promoting dialogue and combining technology and interaction they have become extremely valuable networks for citizens and consumers.
At the same time that channels and platforms are opening up between citizens, businesses and governments, there is an increasing move toward the opening up of information, primarily through the formal and informal release of large datasets (e.g. by data.gov in the US, data.gov.uk in the UK and overheid.nl/opendata/ in the Netherlands). This ‘open data’ movement offers both new opportunities and new challenges for citizens, businesses and governments, including the need to develop the skills to work with this material and to make the provision of ‘open data’ more evidence-based and demand-driven.