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3.8/5 | 49 votes is a window into the state of Sweden's national open data strategy

5/5 | 1 votes |
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The website not only hosts a repository for Sweden's open datasets, but also serves as a guide with courses, guides and tools for organisations that wish to open their data. The site includes a live automated auditor that allows citizens and companies see which public organisations comply with national open data policies.

Policy context

In 2010, the Swedish National Archives were charged with the task of promoting the work of government agencies that open their datasets to the public. According to Act (2010: 566) on the re-use of public sector information, the National Archives are to:

  • encourage the authorities to publish open data according to agreed guidelines and in accordance with the definition of open data;
  • manage and develop, a web portal for open data (opened in July 1, 2016);
  • organise and run web tutorials on open data;
  • and support individuals and companies by helping them find data issued by the central government, and assist individuals in their contacts with relevant authorities.

The Swedish government's objective for its e-governance policy is that Sweden should become a world leader in digitisation (Budgetproposition 2016 Utgiftsområde 22). Amongst other goals, this is planned to result in a more transparent administration that supports innovation and growth. According to the administration policy bill, authorities should seek the effective dissemination of public information to facilitate the emergence of an information market and to contribute to strengthening personal autonomy and the exercise of civil rights (Govt. 2009/10: 175).

Re-use of information is regulated by Act (2010: 566). This law covers the re-use of documents from the public administration. It brings Sweden into compliance with the EC's Directive 2003/98/EC, known as the 'PSI Directive', the​ European legislation that regulates the reuse of public-sector information.

Starting on July 1, 2015, Swedish public authorities must publish on their websites lists of what data sources they can provide electronically on a regular basis.

Description of target users and groups

This portal caters to public administration organisations, companies, and individual citizens, inasmuch it provides guides and tutorials for public entities and a showcase for their data. Companies and citizens can use the portal to check on the data openness of institutions, and as a central hub from which they can download datasets provided by different public organisations.

Description of the way to implement the initiative is a multi-sectioned live website. The main focus is on the datasets, but there is also a blog-like news section and a Twitter feed. does not generate datasets itself, but instead serves as a central repository for datasets generated by other public institutions. It categorises these and rates them according to their popularity and update frequency. There is also a comprehensive search function that helps users locate datasets with the information they need.

The datasets hosted in cover a wide range of topics: a few examples are information on bus stops in cities, raw lists of temperatures in different locations, historical images, and photographs of artefacts in Swedish museums. All datasets are downloadable without the need to register on the site. Most are offered in variety of formats to suit different technologies and applications.

The site also contains a sandbox with tools for researchers. One of these tools automatically audits public organizations and displays whether or not they share their datasets.

The sandbox also allows institutions to register catalogues that should be harvested by There is a search feature for browsing datasets, a toolkit to help institutions format and share their datasets, and a sample catalogue for testing and editing.

Technology solution is built on the CKAN framework, an open source platform geared towards sites that require powerful data management services. CKAN is aimed at data publishers (national and regional governments, companies and organizations) who want to make their data open and available.

CKAN is built with Python on the back end, and Javascript on the front end. It uses the Pylons web framework and SQLAlchemy to convert data between various formats. Its database engine is PostgreSQL and its search is powered by SOLR. It has a modular architecture that allows extensions to be developed to provide additional features such as harvesting or data upload.

CKAN uses its internal model to store metadata about the different records, and presents this on a web interface that allows users to browse and search the metadata. It also offers a powerful API that allows third-party applications and services to be built around it.

Main results, benefits and impacts

The clearest benefit of is the number of organisations that have opened their data since the passing of Act (2010: 566). In February 2014, when Vinnova started the list of approved and unapproved institutions for data sharing, known as the PSI-Datakollen, only 20 organisations complied with the open data policies. By November 2016 the PSI-Datakollen listed over 240 institutions as approved.

To put that in perspective, in the four years before Act (2010: 566) was passed only 20 institutions had managed to comply with the regulation. After that, it took only another two years for 220 institutions to implement open data policies, thanks to the joint effort of Vinnova and the Swedish National Archives.

Track record of sharing facilitates the sharing of data and provides links to files and data streams that can be easily accessed without prior registration or any other requirements. also shares its know-how via courses and tutorials aimed at public institutions that are yet to open their datasets. Furthermore, the site provides the tools to facilitate the transition from closed to open data.

The code for the site itself is implemented using a standard, largely unmodified CKAN framework. CKAN is distributed under a GPL license, and consequently can be used freely by anyone, be that a private citizen, a company, or a public institution. There are also GitHub repositories with graphical elements, themes and plugins, all distributed under liberal licences.

Case Info

Website URL:
Start date:
End date:
Operational date:
01 June 2016


Target Users or Group:
Administrative, Business (industry), Business (self-employed), Business (SME), Citizen, eGoverment
e-Participation in the EU, eGovernment, ePractice, Open Data Support, Open Government, Open source observatory
Case status:
Case type:
General case study
Funding source:
Public funding national
Geographic coverage:
Implementation cost:
datasets, open data, sandbox, tools
Type of service:
Content provision
Efficiency & Effectiveness, Benchmarking, eGovernment, Policy, Services for Businesses, Services for Citizens, User-centric Services
Technology choice:
Open source software, Standards-based technology
Type of initiative:
Project or service, Promotion/awareness campaign
Overall implementation approach:
Public administration