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Open Data

Exec lead: Giles Carden

HESPA has responded to requests to be part of discussions to take place regarding open data, the benefits associated with it and the way it might be better utilised in the HE sector. There have been a series of meetings in London organised by UUK and the Open Data Institute. While we don’t yet have a HESPA group fully formed around this theme, the need for HESPA input around this will grow. the below update comes from Ian Powling, Digital Programmes Lead of UUK's Policy Group.

Data innovation workshop 28 January

The data innovation workshop hosted by UUK on 28 January concluded the ‘Creating value from open data’ project. It was an opportunity to gather feedback on the project from the group and generate ideas for next steps. In terms of feedback, we heard that competition, management inertia and a lack of skills and guidance continue to be barriers to open sharing of data, and while project participants felt that the project had not made as much progress towards an open data demonstrator as hoped, the open data mashup day (Google+ site requires sign up) was considered a success.

Ideas to foster data innovation

A number of useful ideas surfaced in the 28 January workshop. To foster data innovation, we need to inspire leaders to sponsor innovation, build capacity and skills, and upgrade infrastructure and standards. We need to generate more case studies and business proposals relevant to the policy priorities of senior leaders. While the potential is recognised for innovating with data in the areas of TEF, learning analytics and the student journey, as well as in asset sharing, the ‘open data by default’ principle does not resonate as strongly in the higher education sector as in central and local government. The exception to this is the drive towards open research data which we noted but was out of scope for the project.

A data strategy for higher education

HESA, Jisc and UUK are now working together and with wider partners and stakeholders to develop a 10 year vision for the HE sector with a view to launching it in the Autumn. There has been an increased recognition of the importance of the data agenda, given additional impetus by the HEC Bricks and Clicks report which came out in the same week as our workshop. The report recommended, among other things, that the three organisations should work together to develop a sector-wide strategy for excellent and innovative data management.


In my blogpost for Efficiency Exchange, I highlighted how insights on data innovation generated by the project community will continue to be an important reference. While this marks the conclusion of the ‘Creating value from open data’ project, I will be pleased to continue to keep you informed about progress on the wider strategy work at key milestones.


You can find any relevant resources on the Open Data Resources page.















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