In developing open data policies, governments aim to stimulate and guide the publication of government data and to gain advantages from its use. Currently there is a multiplicity of open data policies at various levels of government, whereas very little systematic and structured research has been done on the issues that are covered by open data policies, their intent and actual impact. Furthermore, no suitable framework for comparing open data policies is available, as open data is a recent phenomenon and is thus in an early stage of development. In order to help bring about a better understanding of the common and differentiating elements in the policies and to identify the factors affecting the variation in policies, this paper develops a framework for comparing open data policies. The framework includes the factors of environment and context, policy content, performance indicators and public values. Using this framework, seven Dutch governmental policies at different government levels are compared. The comparison shows both similarities and differences among open data policies, providing opportunities to learn from each other's policies. The findings suggest that current policies are rather inward looking, open data policies can be improved by collaborating with other organizations, focusing on the impact of the policy, stimulating the use of open data and looking at the need to create a culture in which publicizing data is incorporated in daily working processes. The findings could contribute to the development of new open data policies and the improvement of existing open data policies. © 2013.
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