From Toddler to Teen: Growth of an Open Data Ecosystem


  • Maximilian Heimstädt School of Business & Economics, Free University, Berlin
  • Fredric Saunderson National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
  • Tom Heath Open Data Institute, London



Open Data, Ecosystem, Open Government Data, Case Study, United Kingdom


In this paper, the authors conceptualize Open Data ecosystems by analysing the major stakeholders in the UK. The conceptualization is based on a review of popular Open Data definitions and business ecosystem theories, which are applied to qualitative empirical data. The work is informed by a combination of discourse analysis and a content analysis of in-depth interviews, undertaken during the summer of 2013. Drawing on the UK as a best practice example, the authors examine a set of structural business ecosystem properties: circular flow of resources, sustainability, demand that encourages supply, and dependence developing between suppliers, intermediaries, and users. The authors identify that gaps and shortcomings remain. Most prominently, demand is not yet fully encouraging supply and actors have yet to experience fully mutual interdependence.


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Author Biographies

Maximilian Heimstädt, School of Business & Economics, Free University, Berlin

Maximilian Heimstädt is a PhD student within the department for organisation theory at Free University Berlin, where he investigates the emergence and management of municipal Open Data ecosystems. He previously studied an M.Sc. in Management and Information Technology at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, and worked as a visiting researcher at the Open Data Institute in London.

Fredric Saunderson, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

Fredric Saunderson completed his Digital Asset Management M.A. at King’s College London in 2013. Following his degree, Fredric worked as a researcher for the Open Data Institute in London, before moving to the National Library of Scotland in January 2014. In his M.A. dissertation, Fredric examined public engagement with Open Government Data in the United Kingdom.

Tom Heath, Open Data Institute, London

Tom Heath is Head of Research at the Open Data Institute in London, UK, where he leads a diverse, multidisciplinary programme of research exploring the impact, applications and implications of Open Data. Tom has a background in commercial and academic research, and is an internationally recognised expert in the field of Linked Open Data. He holds a B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Liverpool and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from The Open University.




How to Cite

Heimstädt, M., Saunderson, F., & Heath, T. (2014). From Toddler to Teen: Growth of an Open Data Ecosystem. JeDEM - EJournal of EDemocracy and Open Government, 6(2), 123–135.



Research Papers