Towards value-creating and sustainable open data ecosystems: A comparative case study and a research agenda




Open data, ecosystems, value creation, sustainability, research agenda


Current open data systems lag behind in their promised value creation and sustainability. The objective of the current study is twofold: 1) to investigate whether existing open data systems meet the requirements of open data ecosystems, and 2) to develop a research agenda that discusses the gaps between current open data systems on the one hand and participatory, value-creating, sustainable open data ecosystems on the other hand. The literature reveals that the main characteristics of value-creating, sustainable open data ecosystems are user-drivenness, inclusiveness, circularity, and skill-based. Our comparative case study of five open data systems in various application domains and countries highlighted that none of these systems are real open data ecosystems: they often do not balance open data supply and demand, exclude specific user groups and domains, are linear, and lack skill-training. We elaborate on a research agenda that discusses how research should address the challenge of making open data ecosystems more value-generating and sustainable.


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Author Biographies

Bastiaan van Loenen, Delft University of Technology

Dr. Bastiaan van Loenen is an associate professor at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. His current research interests include governance and legal mechanisms stimulating re-use of geographic information, and (open) data driven cities.

Anneke Zuiderwijk, Delft University of Technology

Dr. Anneke Zuiderwijk is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on open data, and more specifically, on theory development concerning infrastructural and institutional arrangements that incentivize open data sharing and use behavior by governments, researchers, companies and citizens.

Glenn Vancauwenberghe, KU Leuven

Dr. Glenn Vancauwenberghe is research manager and senior researcher at the Spatial Applications Division Leuven (SADL) of the KU Leuven. His main areas of expertise are the governance of spatial data infrastructures (SDI), SDI performance assessment and capacity building on geographic information, SDI and open – geospatial - data.

Francisco J. Lopez-Pellicer, Universidad de Zaragoza

Francisco J. Lopez-Pellicer works as associate professor at the Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain). Doctor in Computer Engineering and Master in Business Administration, his research work focuses on the improvement of technologies related to the discovery and availability of geospatial data in Open and Spatial Data Infrastructures.

Ingrid Mulder, Delft University of Technology

Ingrid Mulder is an associate professor of design techniques, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology. Her ongoing teaching and research activities combine strategic design with diffuse design to explore the interplay between top-down policy and bottom-up participatory innovation. Recent projects include Rotterdam Open Data and Open4Citizens.

Charalampos Alexopoulos, University of the Aegean

Charalampos (Harris) Alexopoulos is an adjunct lecturer of open, big and linked data management at the Department of Information and Communications Systems Engineering of the University of the Aegean. He is also a researcher in the Information Systems Laboratory of the same department, publishing on open data, decision support, smart cities and e-government.

Rikke Magnussen, Aalborg University

Rikke Magnussen is an associate professor in citizen science and digital learning design in STEM education at Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University in Copenhagen. She focuses on citizen science and community-driven research and how different types of communities can collaborate in solving scientific, technical or health related challenges in their local area.

Mubashrah Saddiqa, Aalborg University

Mubashrah Saddiqa is a PhD student at Department of Electronic Systems, Aalborg University, Denmark. Her main research interest is how existing Open Data could facilitate the educational process in the Danish public schools and how technology could be integrated in schools in a way that benefits students’ digital and learning skills.

Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, CNRS Center for Internet and Society

Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay, PhD in law, is associate research professor at French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and director of the Center for Internet and Society of CNRS, a research unit and a national network. Her research focuses on digital commons, regulation by technology, IT law and policy.

Joep Crompvoets, Public Governance Institute (PGI), KU Leuven

Joep Crompvoets is professor and research manager at KU Leuven Public Governance Institute (Belgium) holding the chair on ‘information management in the public sector’, and secretary-general of EuroSDR – an European spatial data research network. He has been involved in numerous (inter)national projects related to e-governance, digital transformation, public sector innovation, and (spatial) data infrastructures.

Andrea Polini, University of Camerino

Andrea Polini is associate professor at University of Camerino. His main research interests are in the areas of Quality Assurance for complex software systems, Business Process Management and e-Government. He has been Scientific Leader in the EU project Learn Pad (EU FP7-ICT-2013-11 GA:619583) and Unit coordinator and WP leader in the CHOReOS project (EU FP7-ICT-2009-5, GA:257178).

Barbara Re, University of Camerino

Barbara Re is associate professor of Computer Science at the University of Camerino. Her research interests refer to the area of Business Process Management from modeling to analysis. Particular attention is paid to push the use of formal methods as methodological and automatic tools for the development of high-quality process-aware information systems.

Cesar Casiano Flores, Public Governance Institute (PGI), KU Leuven

Cesar Casiano is a postdoctoral researcher at the Public Governance Institute in KU Leuven. He has a Ph.D. in Innovation and Governance for Sustainable Development. He is member of the National Researchers System in Mexico (SNI-CONACYT) and qualified university lecturer in The Netherlands (UTQ/BKO). He has also participated in different European projects such as the H2020 its4land.




How to Cite

van Loenen, B., Zuiderwijk, A. ., Vancauwenberghe, G., Lopez-Pellicer, F. J. ., Mulder, I., Alexopoulos, C. ., Magnussen, R., Saddiqa, M., Dulong de Rosnay, M., Crompvoets, J., Polini, A., Re, B., & Casiano Flores, C. (2021). Towards value-creating and sustainable open data ecosystems: A comparative case study and a research agenda. JeDEM - EJournal of EDemocracy and Open Government, 13(2), 1–27.



Special Issue: Research Papers