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EU-US cooperation for a better usability of open data

By Roberto Viola ( In that spirit, together, we are proud to announce a collaboration to build a joint US-EU open-source, open-data product, which will speed access to open data on both sides.

Open Government Data is a substantial source of trusted and quality information which can speed up the transition towards a truly data-driven economy. The reuse of this data can have major benefits for citizens, businesses, society and governments: it can fuel more informed decision-making, spur new innovative product development and deepen its role in education and research. Increasing the supply of high-quality data is a crucial element of data-value chains across different economic sectors. But this is not enough.

Data needs to be more usable and interoperable. At the moment, EU and US governmental data is available, but not optimized. The datasets have different structures and different codes, which creates hurdles for the work of data scientists and statisticians who interact with data in a different way than researchers in the past.

With DG Connect and the US Department of Commerce regularly exchanging on digital issues, it was clear to both of us that open data presented a perfect opportunity for the European Commission, represented by DG Connect and the US Government, represented by the Department of Commerce, to work together on a joint project on data-driven innovation.

We want to ease the reuse of open data by businesses for development of new products and services and to help public authorities exchange best practices in publishing open data. Also, we want to more broadly seek to identify needs from data users for a better usability of open data originating from the EU and the US.

We are happy to announce that DG Connect and the US Department of Commerce are jointly developing a new “seed” and open-source library, in the statistical programming language “R”, that interfaces with US and EU economic databases, offering integrated access to key indicators on GDP, population, employment, disposable income – by industry and region – to support research and product development.

To make this happen, the Commerce team, including the US Bureau of Economic Analysis and Commerce Data Service, together with Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union, are collaborating to build an open-source tool that will enable users on both sides of the Atlantic to more quickly access, analyze, and visualize our open data sets.

Users will be able to:

  • view the list of available integrated economic datasets,
  • access the structural metadata of an integrated dataset (concepts, codelists, etc…) and,
  • retrieve an integrated dataset.

This week in Madrid, at the occasion of the International Open Data Conference, the open data users’ community learned about this joint project that will soon allow them easy and integrated access to key indicators on the EU and US economies, down to the regional level.

Our new product will be publicly available in the coming weeks.  And, if you have suggestions for a name for our new open-source “R” product, please let us know.

Our data partnership is critical to our linked futures in the new global digital economy – and for everyone in our countries.

We invite you to keep an eye on this blog, as all relevant links to access this library online will be soon published! Thanks for reading.

Roberto and Justin

13 ottobre 2016

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