Intersectoral information infrastructures for the learning state
Data for society and social good
A modern state ( Coalition Agreement 20th LP, Chapter 1 ) is a learning state. Its actors base decisions and negotiations on evidence and provide public accountability for matters that affect the public. With increasing networking of information and the increasingly democratized possibilities for data- and information-processing, the desire for information among the various social actors has also grown similar.
In a digitalized network society, the lossless sharing of data and information as non-rival goods makes it extremely easier than before to align progress and self-efficacy as well as public supervision along raw data and key indicators. For example, through the use of data and data re-use in digital twins for spatial and financial planning as well as spatial and financial control ( National Data Strategy ) common good. This is a socio-technological and social innovation of our time.
States and their societies can thus participate co-creatively in open governance and, as open societies and open states ( OECD ), they can better accept challenges, proactively counteract risks and strengthen the global common good - even beyond their territorial borders.
Free and open standards in financial and non-financial reporting are an important part of a sovereign and emancipatory information infrastructure (Oliver Rack, Research Journal Social Movements 3/2023 ).
Naturally, the sharing of data from the tax-financed public sector is still progressing unevenly internationally and nationally (Global Data Barometer, Report 2022 ), but is much more advanced than from the private sector or the third sector, non-profit organizations. This development was flanked by the spread of open government and open science principles and EU regulations such as the PSI Open Data Directive and Implementing Regulation or the Data Act (Chapter V) or Data Governance Act .
There are already tentative moves by the EU to share data from private companies with public bodies and research organizations in the Data Act (Articles 14 to 22) and Data Governance Act (Articles 3 to 8), which will most likely be further developed in further amendments. Article 14 Paragraph 2 of the german constitution on the social bond of property also opens up space for discussions on claim scenarios for the sharing of data from private companies. Furthermore, there is also a fundamental debate about what level of creation databases actually have for which data aggregation or if they are automated data collection. For this adjustments to today's intellectual property law in Germany or the EU are expected in the medium term.
At the same time, private companies react very sensitively to regulation, complaining in particular about compliance costs or disadvantages in competition. There is already dissatisfaction with the for the public and consumers clearly important and clearly defined issue of corporate transparency for sustainability assessment. For example, a survey by the German Business Panel at the University of Mannheim in July 2023 came to the conclusion that in the area of corporate transparency, almost a third of companies demand fewer disclosure obligations. These include primarily small companies that have fewer resources and specialist staff, while large companies are more balanced about their transparency obligations - they also derive more benefit from the analysis of their own and third-party company data.
Proactively and voluntarily anticipating regulations and before they enter into force saves time when building capabilities and structures in companies and organizations. This means that decisions that could potentially lead to business risks such as a lack of data sovereignty and long-term dependencies on third parties (vendor lock-in effects) can be made more consciously. Conversely, their own analytical added value can also be explored more strategically through the organizational and technical structures and competencies created.
In addition, the company's own position when sharing data and information in an overall context and the associated synergies and socio-economic-ecological returns and added value for society and policy-making can be explored more deeply and strategic partnerships such as data cooperatives can be planned more proactively.
Important foundations for this are the early development and consideration of free, open and interoperable standards (Open and FAIR principles) in collection methods and data provision as well as shared learning, especially across sector boundaries and with global connectivity (Data4Policy, BMZ) .
For example, the Bertelsmann Foundation has merged the “Smart Country” program area, in which it has long supported municipalities in sharing data as open government data, and the “Wegweiser Kommune” program area for monitoring municipal sustainability development with the new “Data from Civil Society” project, in which it now supports civil society organizations such as foundations and associations in sharing data. And all this has been brought together under the umbrella of “ Data for Society ” for intersectoral and evolutionary community building.
An alignment of a community for sharing data and open standards from the private sector to public institutions, in particular to public administration and especially at the municipal level as well as to civil society organizations, would therefore close an existing gap in the desired ecosystem of sharing data for the common good and would meet already functioning and resilient structures and projects.
An intersection with actors in international cooperation would also support the exchange of skills and binding forces at the territorial level for sharing data across national borders in the sense of local international cooperation and local foreign policy.
Coalition agreement 20th LP, chapter 1
OECD Legal Instruments "Recommendation of the Council on Open Government"
National data strategy
Oliver Rack, research journal Social Movements 3/2023
Global Data Barometer, Report 2022
PSI Open Data Guideline and Implementing Regulation
Data Act (Chapter V)
Data Governance Act (Articles 3 to 8)
GBP Monitor, corporate trends in August 2023
BMZ Digital.Global, Data4Policy
Bertelsmann Foundation, data for society