Five questions to Johan Linåker, a researcher at Lund University, who has reached halfway in his work to research how JobTech Development can build a digital ecosystem for the Swedish labour market through collaboration and open data.
"It is very exciting to follow how one works with open data and open-source software. But above all, how one collaborates with actors within the same ecosystem, when it comes to both data and software. With a hat of the researcher, I can say that it is unique and innovative and it is so little reported, investigated, summarized, and written within this area. The debate in the public sector is usually about how authorities will open and make their data accessible to the public; there is so little focus on the actual collaboration and its connection to open software and open source. That is why I find JobTech Development and the ecosystem you are building, as a cutting-edge project that fosters powerful learning that many can benefit from."
"I wear two hats as a scholar, following and researching the work in progress. While wearing the so called "collaboration hat", I am assisting JobTech Development in building a sustainable ecosystem. I am supporting and coaching when it is needed, providing inputs from the research area on how to collaborate around open data and open-source software. While wearing the "researcher hat", I am following up how the ecosystem develops, makes a comparison analysis with other similar projects in the and give feedback to JobTech. I have, for example, compared with Trafiklab, which is an open platform for innovation in Swedish public transport, managed by Samtrafiken on behalf of the regional public transport authorities in Sweden. I have also taken a closer look at open data ecosystems in Finland and USA. In addition, I work to raise awareness and spread knowledge on how authorities can use and collaborate around open data and open-source software. As a result, we have recently initiated and founded a Network for Open Software and Data (NOSAD.se), where we arrange workshops and collect materials that be useful for authorities in their ongoing work with the above-mentioned topics."
One insight is that authorities can collaborate around data they make accessible and open in many ways. JobTech Development is one example, Trafiklab is another. What fits best depends on each case separately. It has also been quite fascinating to acknowledge the strong synergy effect that exists between open-source software and open data. In one way, it can be inspiring to see how data can be used and simplified for developers; in another way, it can create transparency about how data is used as opening data and making it accessible to anyone. For instance, if a municipality is operating in a closed system, it can be so inefficient and unprofitable as they do not have access to data."
"I hope the outcome of my work will contribute to a stronger ecosystem with more actors involved and the access to data leads to the actual usage of this data. In its turn, it will lead to better matching between employers and job seekers. I am also hoping that this work and the conducted research will help authorities, both in Sweden and abroad, to improve their work with open data and open-source software."
"A hint is to visit NOSAD's webpage, where you can take part in research articles, open-source policy papers, reports and educational materials. I am also publishing material via my social media accounts. Do not hesitate to reach out via my Twitter and LinkedIn profiles."
In our forum, you can follow NOSAD's ongoing work and participate in discussions within the jobtech area.
You can read more about the new research report about open data ecosystems here.