Panel Discussion “Open Data and Economy” held with the purpose to mark Open Data Week

In cooperation with the Chamber of Economy Montenegro IEC Tehnopolis marked the Open Data Week by organizing a panel discussion “Open Data and Economy”, which drew attention to the importance of this topic and the opportunities offered by open data.

At the beginning, Andreja Gluscevic, project coordinator and expert in the field of Open Data in PALGLO smart Serbia referred the attendees that Open Data is a resource that is available to anyone, with free access on the internet, so technically accessible and machine-readable.

“Open data represent open source formats provided data that can be used freely, can be used or reused and redistribute”, Gluscevic said.

Through classic examples, she explained what open data should not contain, what are the most common mistakes that occur when writing open data documents. In order to be open and machine-readable, the document should be simple so that each window has its value and the data were usable.

“If you want to get open data, first you have to realize this is not a job that will end overnight, but that it will take a lot of your time. At the very beginning, it is necessary to make a 360-degree review, to overview the current situation, what all data is, who the person collecting the data is and in which format. Then find the leader of the whole process as well as the people in the local self-government who will help in the development of the process so that the data will be usable”, Gluscevic explained.

She spoke about the importance of open data and that the best insight into the work of local governments is given through their accessibility. She also emphasized that if the data is used in the right way, it can lead to solving and clarifying problems in the community.

“The first users of the data must be the public authorities themselves because it serves as a mirror to realize who they are and at what level their services are. By analyzing their data, they can improve their functioning and then stimulate social and economic innovations through Hackathons or challenges, which may result in new research and scientific developments that will serve the community”, said Gluscevic.

In the end, through positive examples from the practice, it was shown to the attendees that different open source databases can create different applications with informative views that are visually interesting and useful.

In the second part of the panel, Nada Rakocevic, Secretary of the Board of the Association of ICT – Chambers of Commerce of Montenegro spoke about Data HUB, the national open data hub, which aims to bring together representatives of the public administration, economy, scientific community, and civil society. “Data HUB was created as part of the Open Data for Open European Innovation (ODEON) program. It will be officially open till July 2020 with an extension until September 2020. The goal is to make the Data HUB sustainable for a long time. Membership is open and all initiatives are welcome”, said Rakocevic.

The specific points of this program are to increase the availability of free and high-quality open data, to increase their reuse by universities, the economy, the state and civil society (quadruple spirals) and to support private and public factors interested in using open data to create innovative services. “Within the program, a working group was created and coordinated by Bojana Bajic, Head of the Directorate for Registry Interoperability and Normative Affairs – Ministry of Public Administration of Montenegro, to organize educational events, seminars, workshops, such as ” Make it accessible and useful “- the first Hackathon on this subject”, Rakocevic concluded.

Then Bojana Bajic spoke about the current state of open data in Montenegro, as well as about the future plans.

“Open data is a kind of cultural change in our country. Through them we are developing innovations, improving governance and engagement of the civil sector, timely and comprehensive information that is accessible and usable and which builds the principle of openness”, Bajić explained.

At the very beginning of the development of open data in Montenegro, it was necessary to establish a legal framework, which was achieved through three laws: on free access to information, on amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information and the protection of personal data.

“Information is necessary for every type of action, it drives society and encourages creativity in every field: economy, tourism, culture, science, etc. Public authorities produce and collect a large amount of information that has significant economic potential and by making it available, the right to free access to information is more effectively accomplished”, Bajic said.

Then she spoke about the types of data provided by the public sector, but also about the portal data.gov.me, which is an ingathering of data, used to collect, categorize and distribute open data in the possession of public authorities and make it easy to search.

“Our next steps are education administrator authority to publish information for re-use portal data.gov.me, setting up a set of information for re-use portal data.gov.me, the work of the Working Team for open data, participation in the project ODEON, promotional campaigns and public events organized by the Ministry of Public Administration and the Working Team, as well as the integration of the Montenegrin Open Data Portal with the European Open Data Portal”, Bajic said.

At the end of the presentation, she presented several examples of good practice and emphasized to the attendees that data can be good business opportunities if applied properly.

The panel was followed by questions of interested participants for further advice and information.

The event is part of „the Open Data for European Open Innovation” – ODEON project, implemented by the Chamber of Commerce within the INTERREG Mediterranean Transnational Cooperation Program.