How should open data publishers and consumers connect?


Open data publishers sometimes don’t know where to focus. With so much data to release, lots ideas around improving and limited resources, where should they start?

Open data consumers don’t know what data is available, what may be possible, or who to ask.

How should open data publishers and consumers connect to prioritise data releases and improvements?


Australia’s Research and Education sector has one key reference example that could be applied within the context of data publishers and consumer connection.
The Australian Access Federation (AAF) is an established technology (seed-funded initially by the Commonwealth) utilising Identity Federation.
A not-for-profit, owned by the member community, the Federation enables sharing of data, connection of services and also facilitates granular access control for groups wishing to access and share sensitive data securely. The Federation adopts global best-practice ( with it’s technology leading APAC. the AAF technology is also embedded to Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand. These Global Federations use established Governance and Trust Policy through Federation rules.
This global federation community acknowledges that in time, users will be connected globally and data access will enhance policy, research, industry R&D as well as support the improvement to decision making capacity.
As Australia’s authoritative National Identity Federation the AAF is perfectly positioned to underpin open data capability and enable adoption. The Federations’ existing users comprise 100% of Australia’s Universities, large Research Institutes and education providers connecting over 1 million Australians.


I think this misses the point. The question posed is more about a discussion on what data should be released as open data. The challenges are that publishers don’t know we’re to start, re-users don’t know what’s available and there are many stakeholders involved authenticated identity may be useful for shared data but less so for open data.


In my opinion, it is necessary to have some kind of standardisation in place. More specifically on the goals to be achieved. The insight I had while accessing this topic is to connect publishers and consumers through two categories:
1-“Research” for projects with focus on developing innovative tools and models to store/search/match/analyse/audit data; and
2-“Commercialisation” for projects with focus on data validation and maintenance over time.

The first category of projects could focus on the performance issues while the second one should track the data accuracy culprits and datasets usability over time. Ideally, teams working in different projects would collaborate sharing/developing the same toolset/databases. It is possible to control the complexity of those interactions using Agile. However, the “Open” statement, is the first concept that have to be properly discussed and understood with the teams to extract concrete benefits from developing effective tools and maintaining usable information.


I find as an Open Data Publisher we focus a lot of our effort on Information Management and Data Lifecycle, so the foundations inside the agency are quite strong. The issue I think consumers face with what we do and how we do it though is we don’t have any mechanism at this time to identify for them what we see as our high value datasets. So those datasets that we believe are critical to what we do so may therefore be of high value to them.
The other issue I think we are struggling with is we know our traditional user base but we aren’t seeing, identifying or understanding our new or emerging user groups


The Victorian government has developed and implemented an effective model for this, with monthly data meetings arranged by government and featuring different agencies or specific datasets in presentations at each event.

This is building a strong community linking open data publishers and consumers, creating understanding around the context of specific data amongst consumers, and a better understanding of how data should be structured for effective reuse by publishers.

The events are not only valuable for the connections created between government and community, but also for the intra-government connections where data can be consumed by agencies other than its publishers, and for the links between community members, who can identify others interested in the same data and team up to deliver more effective services or insights from it.

This fits into the 4th & 5th generation of my Open Data Generations Roadmap (, which I believe the Qld government has referenced in the past.


How should open data publishers and consumers connect?

With clearly defined and responsive channels for feedback. Its hard to always get it right first time and its important to have a clear feedback loop for data errors or enhancements to be communicated to the publisher. This engages the consumer and helps both parties contribute to the overall open data ecosystem.


In my experience any published content requires additional conversations to achieve an overall value add.

To allow for the conversation to start, the publisher could provide an email address and the back end processes to actually respond to enquiries in time.

The publishing of data could then be on a case by case, needs driven bases.


I agree with @craig.thomler that regular presentations and workshops are the way to go.
Sometimes innovation spawns innovation in unforeseen ways, this is my example:

Innovation 1: Brisbane City Council Published City Plan 2014 as an on-line resource and a smart way of delivering the reference documents and maps explaining the Councils planning objectives.

Innovation 2: BCC expanded the number of projects that can be done without planning permission to promote economic development but one must have an expert-level understanding of CityPlan to know what projects can be done on a site.

Innovation 3: Brisbane Marketing appoint the Chief Digital Officer and reach out to business promoting Digital, putting me in contact with Open Data advocates in Council.

Innovation 4: Fountainhead Group invents to bring simplicity to (necessary) town planning complexity and to connect Homeowners with design-led Businesses to kick-start projects.

Key takeouts:
Foster innovation within Goverment.
Encourage openness.
Be in a hurry to support private and community sector innovation.


Face-to-face meetings and events are great, but it limits the number of people that can be involved, and can be quite a slow process to organise.

How about an online connection portal that:

  1. Provides a list of “coming soon” datasets from data publishers, and allows discussion and questions around them.
  2. Provides a way for consumers to suggest ideas for things that could be useful to them. These ideas could be be voted up by other consumers when it’s something they think would be useful too. Then the top dataset suggestions are prioritised by the publishers. Similar to the ArcGIS Ideas website:


The Heart Foundation believes that fostering opportunities between open data publishers and consumers could be done -through think tanks to problem solve and support innovation for improvements.
-Online forums like this one is a good way to bring both parties together

  • through advocacy opportunities with stakeholders and consumers