Socio‑technical Impediments of Open Data


  • Anneke Zuiderwijk
  • Marijn Janssen
  • Sunil Choenni
  • Ronald Meijer
  • Roexsana Sheikh Alibaks


open data, open government data, impediments, barriers, challenges, problems, user perspective.


There is an increasing demand for opening data provided by public and private organisations. Various organisations have already started to publish their data and potentially there are many benefits to gain. However, realising the intended positive effects and creating value from using open data on a large scale is easier said than done. Opening and using data encounters numerous impediments which can have both a socio and a technical nature. Yet, no overview of impediments is available from the perspective of the open data user. Socio‑technical impediments for the use of open data were identified based on a literature overview, four workshops and six interviews. An analysis of these 118 impediments shows that open data policies provide scant attention to the user perspective, whereas users are the ones generating value from open data. The impediments that the open data process currently encounters were analysed and categorized in ten categories: 1) availability and access, 2) find ability, 3) usability, 4) understand ability, 5) quality, 6) linking and combining data, 7) comparability and compatibility, 8) metadata, 9) interaction with the data provider, and 10) opening and uploading. The impediments found in literature differ from impediments that were found in empirical research. Our overview of impediments derived from both literature and empirical research is therefore more comprehensive than what was already available. The comprehensive overview of impediments can be used as a basis for improving the open data process, and can be extended in further research. This will result in the solving of some impediments and new impediments might rise over time.



1 Dec 2012