Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


YDS Report Summary

Project ID: 645886
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - YDS (Your Data Stories)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The revolution in information technology over the last years has proven its ability to process huge amounts of data and made evident that big data can change the world. Open Government Data (OGD), from being an obscure possibility just recently, is spreading across the globe at a phenomenal rate, delivering the promise to spur innovation, to deliver better services for less money, to improve planning, to increase transparency, and to reduce corruption. In this context, YourDataStories (YDS) envisions to bring this promise closer to reality, through a highly customizable online platform for data exploitation focused in the financial flows that are critical for transparency, collaboration and participation. Users, ranging from governmental bodies to journalists and to citizens, will be facilitated by powerful and established tools, not only to discover relevant information but also to remix it with diverse and dynamic data sources: YDS acts like an interactive canvas to enable data citizens to (re)write their own data history. In addition, YDS aims to bring open data in social computing, by adding a third social dimension to the data, by making semantically linked open data visible and usable in popular social media platforms, where the data can been seen, used, linked, and augmented by millions of users in order to become part of their user stories.

Both the platform and the applications that will be built in the context of YDS will concentrate on covering real user needs, focusing on the needs of governmental bodies such as ministries and information communicators, such as journalists. In addition, YDS applications and pilots aim specific challenges on the corruption-fighting agenda, focusing in preventing corruption on construction works through following public money with many ways. Our starting point is what is already available, ready to be used and exploitable: a) A large number of economic-related datasets of open governmental data, b) ways to encode and describe these data in a way that increases their machine-processability, i.e. through semantic frameworks like RDF or OWL ontologies, and c) ways to combine semantically annotated data, describe and re-use the combined outcome.

In YourDataStories direct data consumption can be through customizable visualizations and statistics, personalized service provision and third-party applications, represented by the “Visual Analytics and Statistics”, “Personalised Application Module”, “Service Market Place”, and “Users Feedback Mechanisms” components. The “Access Control & Identity Management System” component concludes the platform, by providing the needed software stack for performing user control and conditional access to the provided data and services.

The advantages of the YourDataStories platform and applications lie along three main axes: transparency, collaboration, and participation. Transparency is related to users, who can now access data more easily, in a structured way and through a single end-point, or enhance their awareness for public spending through the advanced visual analytics and monitoring tools that will be offered by YourDataStories. Collaboration enables users to exploit the platform, the insights, the provided data, and the community support in order to build their own application, re-purpose and re-connect the data in new ways that tell their “story”, and why not, market these applications if the told story is interesting for other users. Finally, YourDataStories aims to foster participation, by enabling users to state their needs, pose their questions and queries, in order to receive personalised services that provide answers retrieved from open data. YourDataStories aims to support sustainable services, supported by a marketing ecosystem of applications offering cross-border services of public finance flows across Europe.

The YDS will be piloted and validated in three different usage scenarios:

Follow Public Money: The f

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The YDS project officially started on 1st February 2015. The first reporting period covers the period from 1st February 2015 and ends at 31st January 2015. These dates in project months correspond to M1 to M12 inclusive, respectively. This first reporting period has crystallised the project approach and has demonstrated the initial value of the YDS approach by setting a first version of the YDS platform and tools. Overall and as contractually foreseen in the first reporting period, the project managed to:

• Gather contributions from actual users during the requirements elicitation phase. Engaged all potential user groups (public bodies officers, representatives of NGOs, auditing bodies, businesses and institutions focusing on the contractions and energy business domains, representatives from Government, civil society and journalists as well as developers) in the user requirements survey in order to disclose various opinions and views on YDS. As such, a unified approach in the collection of the stakeholders’ opinions has been followed, using a mix of various tools in order to collect data from various target groups with different backgrounds and from different localities.

• Complete the requirements elicitation phase utilising a range of instruments to gather data from the potential end users. Overall, nine (9) focus groups have been organised with the participation of more than 110 people that provided feedback (through open discussion sessions, definition of use case scenarios and completion of questionnaires) as well as several interviews with selected stakeholders have been contacted. For the identification of user needs, the user perspectives have been taken into account and result in: 1) User requirements (the point of view of end users), Functional requirements (what the users want the system to do), 3) Non-functional requirements (restrictions on the types of solutions to meet the functional requirements)

• Define the technical specs and system architecture based on the user requirements that have been translated into technical specifications for the YDS system and related components. Also the architectural and implementation aspects for the delivery of the YDS platform have been defined taking into account the full range of requirements for such service.

• Produce a Data Management Plan (DMP), which outlines the handling of the data sources at the different project stages based on H2020 guidelines. The DMP covers how data will be handled within a project frame, during the research and development phase but also details the intentions for the archiving and availability of the data once the project has been completed.

• Define a framework to address the Legal and Ethical aspects of the project; the study analyses the relevant legal framework on open data applications, as well as highlights the applying opportunities and constraints in order to transform the YDS platform into a normative space of information justice in a relevant and responsible manner.

• Develop a semantic data model & data source assessment methodology putting the basis for choosing viable data sources and building sustainable data harvesting, alignment and validation pipelines for public projects in Greece, official development assistance of the Dutch government throughout the world, and public procurement information in Ireland.

• Successfully preview an initial version of the platform prototype in January 2016 and collect user comments; producing iterative versions until the launch of the beta version due end of this year.

• Define the methodological framework to be put in place regarding the pilots operation, the project evaluation and the success indicators to be used to validate project results.

• Conduct several dissemination activities to create awareness about YDS.

• Conduct a competitive market analysis of already existing concepts, systems and components relevant to YDS and identified market gaps and the YDS

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

YourDataStories brings an innovative solution whose innovation potential spreads across many directions, from leveraging best practices and proven technologies across Europe, to exploiting the social Web for accessing citizens, and to supporting sustainable public services across borders.

a) Connecting Linked Data to Web UIs and Web Analytics
While there are several existing solutions and infrastructure for data analytics, mainly oriented towards the analysis of tabular data (such as spreadsheet or CSV files), the integration of analytics solutions with linked data is still a challenging task. There are several reasons for this lack of interoperability between linked data and existing analytics solutions, including representation issues and inability to exploit the full potential of linked data. Regarding representation, we think that there is a gap between linked data (where graph representations like RDF are dominant) and Web-based analytics platforms (where hierarchies of “nested objects” in JSON are dominant), which is also evident by the absence of middleware infrastructures that bridge these two “worlds”. YDS has the opportunity to develop such a middleware infrastructure, with. The potential impact of such an effort depending on many factors, including its adaptability and applicability to data models beyond the YDS model. During the second year of the project, an additional interface will be provided to the YDS data through a recent W3C standard, JSON-LD, which is an alternative lightweight linked data format, aiming to exploit the suitability of JSON-LD as a mean to bridge the gap between linked data and Web applications that consume data in JSON. Beyond representation, existing Analytics solutions do not seem to exploit the enriched contextual information offered by linked data and their highly structured provided information, since existing solutions target mostly datasets in isolation (not linked). In YDS we will explore this dimension, by trying to incorporate the contextual information that is available in linked data through the Analytics support that will be offered by the YDS components and platform.

b) Transferring good practices and existing expertise across Europe
In 2010, the Hellenic Ministry of Administrative Reform and E-governance (MAREG) initiated the Greek Transparency Program Initiative (GTPI) and developed in-house the Transparency portal as a low budget project. From its inception its principles were based on the hypothesis that the provision of open data by default that are timely, comprehensive, accurate and useable by all will promote transparency, improved governance and innovation. It is exactly the same approach and ambition that it is embraced nowadays by most cities and countries around the world (see for instance G8’s Policy Paper) [1]. GTPI has transformed the provision of public services in Greece and redefined the state-citizen relationship by providing an intermediate objective layer of information. The almost 30.000 public servants that operate GTPI everyday are the strongest driver of change in the Greek public sector, since they do not only apply open government in action, but they diffuse their open-(data) minded and citizen-centric expertise across the whole spectrum helping their country to overcome the crisis. On the other hand, because of the fact that GTPI is growing so fast in unprecedented grounds in technological and organizational terms, it is suffering of problems that originate from the complexity and the vast quantity of the uploaded information. This is the point where civic society and the research community (mainly the Public Spending project) contributed substantially in the transformation of GTPI into a more structured and interactive system. In June 2014, MAREG launched the updated Transparency Portal, which is a common effort and addresses the propositions of the Public Spending community. In this context, YourDataStories can be viewed as a way to t

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Record Number: 186660 / Last updated on: 2016-07-14