Linked Open Government Data Research Panorama
Bernardo Todesco, Bruno Blume, Airton Zancanaro, José Leomar Todesco and Fernando Gauthier
Knowledge Engineering Lab, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil
Keywords: Linked Open Government Data, Transparency, Bibliometry, Semantic Web, Open Government.
Abstract: In order to increase transparency and civic participation, governments around the world sought ways to
open their data and allow both to itself as to companies and the civil population a greater share in the
maintenance, surveillance and optimization of the services provided. To this end, using a technology called
linked data (LD), the data released by governments became easier to be understood and properly used by
humans and machines alike, thus creating what today is called linked open government data (LOGD). The
purpose of this article is to present the state of art of the research in LOGD through bibliometric research,
ultimately presenting a feedback on the matter.
The internet has brought to the world substantial
changes to social, economic and political structures,
presenting an instant communication and data
distribution between geographically distant parties.
People, companies and, ultimately, governments
have become adept to this form of interaction,
incorporating such technology as a means to
optimize the services provided. In this context,
governments have used such technology in its
pursuit of enhancing government transparency and
civic engagement, enabling the provision of services
in a more efficient, effective and, above all,
transparent way.
In order to achieve such transparency and enable
a more efficient civic engagement, several
governments have launched their data online
(Davies, 2010; Shadbolt et al., 2012) in the Open
Data format. The concept of openness in Open
Data, although not completely new, carries the idea
of providing information free of charge and free of
copyright or patents, being the key concept in many
other movements such as Open Source, Open
Content and Open Access.
Therefore, Open Data is the idea of providing
data in a manner that allows their free use, re-use
and sharing. In other words, without any patents or
copyrights (Ferrer-Sapena et al., 2011). Such field
has been growing in relevance and research since
governments in many countries - such as the United
States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New
Zealand, Germany, Spain Brazil - have focused
their attention on opening governmental data,
following Open Data guidelines for that purpose.
It was within this context of opening
governmental data for use by any interested party
that, by using RDF language (Brickley and Guha,
2004; Klyne; Carroll, 2004), the concept of LD was
employed (Bizer et al., 2009; Bizer, 2009).
By adding context and standardized formatting to
datasets, LD is a method of publishing structured
data that enables the creation of relevant information
from open data in various sources, subjects and
fields, such information being of interest to several
different parties, whether governmental, private or
civil. (Cerrillo-i-Martinez, 2012; Janssen, 2011). For
example, the timetable of a bus route at different
points of its path or the monitoring of a project for
access to expenses for each step of your process and
other relevant information.
Therefore, the so-called LOGD, a specifically
governmental form of LD, consolidates itself as the
standard format for access and transmission of
government data, so as to disseminate and clarify the
actions and decisions taken by the government to its
citizens (Ding et al., 2012; Hendler et al., 2012).
The present bibliometric research aims to check
the state of art of academic research regarding
Linked Data and government transparency, in order
to favor researchers in the mapping of the profile
and characteristics of the publications on the subject.
The purpose of these results is to identify clearly
which authors, institutions and countries have
Todesco B., Blume B., Zancanaro A., Todesco J. and Gauthier F..
Linked Open Government Data Research Panorama.
DOI: 10.5220/0004548402780285
In Proceedings of the International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Ontology Development (KEOD-2013), pages 278-285
ISBN: 978-989-8565-81-5
2013 SCITEPRESS (Science and Technology Publications, Lda.)
advanced more in the research about LOGD, as well
as showing successful methodologies, relevant
issues highlighted by authors. This might enable
stakeholders to advance in new research or new
The article is divided as the following: Section 2
is a brief explanation about the concept of LOGD,
section 3 presents the methodological procedures for
the development of this research, while section 4
presents the results obtained and ultimately section 5
presents the closing remarks.
Before entering in any methodological procedures or
results for this article, it would be of great
importance to explain the main focus of this work.
In other words, to clarify to LD, Open Government
or government transparency enthusiasts what LOGD
stands for and what it enables. Such clarification
also justifies the efforts of performing a research
panorama on the field.
Many authors have been writing about LOGD
lately, especially after and
came to existence (Ding et al., 2012; Kalampokis et
al., 2011; Shadbolt et al., 2012). According to Ding
(Ding et al., 2012), these two portals have pioneered
the LOGD initiatives worldwide.
The LOGD movement is closely related to the
Open Government Data (OGD) initiatives that took
place worldwide over the last decade. As a huge
amount of datasets was released, governments and
civil society faced the difficult task of integrating
this material due to the use of different vocabularies,
formats and qualities of metadata within what was
released (Ding et al., 2012).
As a response to this big challenge, LOGD
emerged as “a way of facilitating opening, linking,
and reusing OGD. LD offers minimal consensus on
data representation (such as using URIs and the
Resource Description Framework) and data access
(via HTTP), and enables incremental OGD
publishing according to Tim Berners-Lee’s ‘5 Stars
of Linked Open Data’” (Ding et al., 2012).
Ding explains the process of opening and linking
data in three stages. In the first stage, governments
play the key role, opening up their data. In the
second stage, community must help enhance the
quality of the released data. In the last stage, data is
reused, in order to build high-value applications
from the datasets. Thus, LOGD can reach its full
potential only through public participation. Citizens
have to get themselves involved in the process, first
by pressuring the government to release its data and
later by enriching the available data.
The present work adopted a combination of different
bibliometric techniques and followed some
recommendations and descriptions suggested by
Macias-Chapula (1998), Vanti (2002) and Francina
and Oliveira (2011).
According to Tague-Sutckiffe (apud Macias-
Chapula, 1998, p.134), bibliometry is the study of
the quantitative aspects of the production,
dissemination and use of the information recorded.
Moreover, bibliometry develops patterns and
mathematical models to measure these processes,
using its results for drawing up estimates and
supporting decision making.
The present bibliometric study was conducted in
two phases: the first phase consisted of searching,
filtering and standardizating the articles, while the
second phase was the analysis and development of
the final work.
The following sub-items describe the steps
3.1 Step 1 - Defining the Search
of Terms and Database Query
The association of terms related to government and
open data aims to identify areas of study and
research lines that are indexed in international
scientific databases. To perform the search, we used
some terms related to government (open
government, transparency and e-government) and
some terms related to open data (linked data, linked
open data and linked government data. These terms
were also used in Spanish and Portuguese. Searches
were conducted in three international databases:
Web of Science (WoS), Scopus and Google Scholar.
3.2 Step 2 - Exporting the Articles
and Reading the Abstracts
After making queries in databases, files were
generated with the main bibliometric data (title,
abstract, keywords, year, author, institution, etc.).
Such data were then imported into the bibliographic
management software, Mendeley. It enables a more
practical and dynamic indexing and use of articles
and journals by indexing files in formats such as
PDF or DOC, enabling the creation of automatic
references and the categorization of the articles in
While using Mendeley, some criteria were
established on the selection of works that were
included in the final work. Aside from the removal
of articles that were duplicated or without
authorship, reading the abstracts permitted the
identification of articles that had subjects in
accordance with the current research's proposal. This
step also included removing papers that weren't
available for free download.
3.3 Step 3 - Standardizing Data
and Classification of Articles
into Macro Themes
By the fact that the research was conducted in three
separate databases, the need to standardize the data
so that statistical data had greater reliability was
noticed. For example, while in Scopus the
authorship is identified by surname and first initial
letter of the name, in Web of Science, the full name
is shown spelled out fully. Moreover, the lack of
information such as institutional bond of the authors
and lack of keywords forced the categorization to be
done using the full text or searches on the Web.
For such standardization, a database was created
in Microsoft Access and the fulfillment of
information for each article (author, institution, year,
country, publication source, etc.) was performed
After the stage of standardization, with more
familiarity towards the researchers and the contents,
the categorization of the articles according to the
macro themes they address was possible.
3.4 Step 4 - Data Analysis
and Evelopment of the Final Work
After standardization and categorization,
consultations and frequency counts were performed.
Several tables, graphs and schematic figures were
created from the set of selected papers, thereby
allowing several considerations regarding the state
of art of the research on LOGD, which was used for
the development of the present article.
With all the data gathered, properly standardized
and developed, the creation of the current article was
made possible.
The analysis conducted from the survey of
bibliometric data allowed the drawing of
conclusions on various aspects of the research
regarding LD and government transparency. Some
of these conclusions refer to databases, sources of
publications, research dates, authors, institutions and
key terms that will be presented next.
4.1 Bibliographic Data (Linked Data
and Government Transparency)
Almost half of the papers were found in the Scopus
database. Out of the 38 articles found there, 21 were
selected according to the criteria described above.
From the Web of Science database, only one article
was included from the eight papers located. The
other main source was Google Scholar's database,
which resulted in the largest number of selected
articles. Thus the total set of works analyzed is 49.
Table 1 illustrates the process of selection the papers
went through for analysis.
Table 1: Number of publications selected.
Database Papers found Papers selected
Scopus 38 21
WOS 8 1
Scholar 27 27
Total 73 49
Most of the works selected are articles indexed in
scientific journals, a total of 27. The remaining
articles were published in conference proceedings
(as Conference Papers) or as book chapters and
articles posted on websites such as W3C. The papers
came from 40 sources and were prepared by 158
authors, belonging to 65 institutions from 16
different countries.
By summing the articles, 666 references were
made, an average of over 13 references per article.
Furthermore, 92 keywords were used. The Table 2
summarizes the general bibliometric research.
Table 2: Bibliometric results.
Bibliographic data Frequency
Papers 49
Publication sources 40
Authors 158
Institutions 65
Countries 16
Keywords 92
References and citations 666
4.2 Publications by Year
The majority of the articles were published after
2009, reaching its peak in 2011 with 16 publications,
following 2010 and 2012, with 12 and 9
respectively. This is due to the fact that LD is a very
recent concept in the means of information
technology. Tim Berners-Lee launched his first
considerations on LD in an article from 2006.
Over the last years, the concept of LD also
became part of the set of ideas in public
administration worldwide, starting with the United
Kingdom and the United States of America. Thus, it
is understandable that most of the articles were
written in the last four years, since the growth in LD
research, deals with issues related to governmental
The exceptions to this pattern are seven articles
published between 2000 and 2008, which address
innovatively on the semantic web, ontologies and
other tools now widely used for the preparation of
projects linked government data.
4.3 Main Sources of Publications
The articles were originating from 49 different
sources. Only three of these had more than one
article. The results are shown in Table 3.
Table 3: Main publication sources.
Publication sources Qty. Source JCR
ACM Int’l Conference
Proceeding Series
IEEE Intelligent
5 Journal 2.154
IEEE Internet
2 Journal 2.000
The source with the highest number of papers are the
proceedings of an international conference organized
by the ACM Digital Library, a digital publishing
company responsible for many journals in several
areas - including information technology.
The two other sources with more than one
publication obtained from searches are two journals
from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic
Engineers (IEEE), which have respectable impact
factor and recognition in the field of computer
science. IEEE is responsible for publishing
numerous journals in various fields.
When it comes to the bonds between authors.
Figure 1 shows the two main networks identified
between the authors in the searches. They were built
according to the authorships of the articles. There
are two separate networks, named Network 1 and
Network 2. In the first of them, many European
professors are shown, such as Berners-Lee, Bizer,
Heath, Cyganiak, Peristeras, Auer, O’Hara and
Shadbolt. Some articles written by those authors are
“Linked Data: The Story So Far”, “DBpedia: a
nucleus for a web of open data”, “The emerging web
of linked data”, among others.
Figure 1: Main networks.
Network 2 is mainly composed by Tetherless World
Constellation authors, which have done many
articles about LOGD lately. Some highlights from
these articles are “TWC LOGD: a portal for linked
open government data ecosystems”, “Data-gov
Wiki: towards linking government data”, “Linked
Open Government Data” and “US Government
Linked Open Data:”.
One important aspect that could distinguish both
networks is the kind of research developed by its
authors. The European network is clearly more
conceptual and normative, developing the basis of
the LOGD program. Berners-Lee, for example, is
the author who has first mentioned the term Linked
Data, back in 2006. He also has defined quality
standards for the publication of data, with its 5-star
classification. Auer is another good example: he
developed DBpedia, which has enabled the growth
of the web of data since 2009.
On the other hand, TWC researchers have done
much more concrete projects, such as portals and
catalogs. Among many of those projects, it can be
highlighted DIGO, the TWC LOGD Portal and the
International Open Government Dataset Catalog.
4.4 Main Authors, Institutions
and Countries
In Table 4, shown below, lists the authors with the
highest numbers of publications, along with the
institutional affiliation, city and country.
Out of 49 selected articles, 31 of them (ie over
60% of articles) were written by a total of nine
researchers (out of a universe of 158 in the overall
selection), belonging to only four institutions located
in two countries.
The research group that stands out most is the
Tetherless World Constellation (TWC), which is
linked to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Leading that group are James Hendler and Deborah
McGuinness, who also appear in the list of top
authors. Among the nine most productive authors
identified, six work in TWC.
The remaining authors are Tim Berners-Lee and
two German specialists. The academic and
professional profile of each of the nine researchers is
presented below.
Li Ding is a researcher at the Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute. In the analysis performed,
some articles about LOGD were found, aside articles
about applications developed specifically for the use
of LOGD. In fact, he is a prolific researcher on
linked government data. Ding is an author in five
articles, four of these as first author, and has 14
connections with other authors about the topics
Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide
Web, has spread, since the early 2000s, the vision of
a Web of data as the evolution of the Web of
documents originally conceived by him. LD is an
idea developed by Berners-Lee since 2006. In the
present study, Berners-Lee is the author of four
articles, two of them as first author, and has 16
connections with other authors on the subject
James Alexander Hendler is a renowned
researcher at Rensselaer Institute. He is one of the
creators of the Semantic Web. At TWC, Hendler is
ahead of the Linking Open Government Data
Project, which makes him one of the leading
researchers on the use of government data in
standard Linked Open Data. In this bibliometric
research, Hendler has authored four articles, one of
these as the first author. He has connections with 16
other authors on the subject addressed.
Sören Auer is linked to the University of
Leipzig, Germany, where he is ahead of some
research groups related to the Semantic Web. He
also coordinates a project called "LOD2 - Creating
Knowledge out of Interlinked Data". In this survey,
Auer was the author of three articles, two of these as
the first author, and has nine links with other authors
on the subject addressed.
Christian Bizer currently works at the University
of Mannheim, Germany. He made efforts to create
the Linked Open Data community in the W3C, aside
from being a DBpedia’s co-founder. He is the first
author of "Linked Open Data - The Story So Far",
most cited work within the articles collected in this
research. Bizer authored three articles of the
bibliometric selection, two of these as the first
The last four authors on the list all work at
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, more specifically at
Tetherless World Constellation: Dominic DiFranzo.
Deborah McGuinnes, Alvaro Graves James
Michaelis. Each of these names appears in three
articles and each author has professional links with
at least 12 researchers.
Table 5 identifies the institutions with the biggest
number of authors included in the survey. These
numbers, however, do not necessarily mean that
such bodies have the highest quantities of articles
published, since a single article can have multiple
authors. Nevertheless, this table can inform us with
some accuracy the depth of the workload and
research produced by each institution, since a higher
number of both authors may represent more
researchers engaged in the field as well as more
Table 4: Authors with the most publications.
Institutional Bond City Country
Ding, L 5 4 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy EUA
Berners-Lee, T 4 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge EUA
Hendler, J 4 1 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy EUA
Auer, S 3 2 Universität Leipzig Leipzig Alemanha
Bizer, C 3 2 Universität Mannheim Berlim Alemanha
Difranzo, D; Graves, A;
McGuinness, D; Michaelis, J
3 - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy EUA
material produced. The next paragraphs present
these institutions and its activities.
Table 5: Quantity of authors per institution.
Institution Authors
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 14
Hasso Platner Institute 9
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 8
Polytechnic University of Madrid
The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a traditional
American institution. The Tetherless World
Constellation (TWC) is located there. Among its
various research projects, there is one called
"Linking Open Government Data", whose focus is to
investigate the role of the semantic Web, especially
LD, in the production and publication of government
data in portals like The researchers
leading this project are Jim Hendler and Deborah
Mcguinness. The institute has other important
researchers such as Li Ding, Peter Fox, Massimo Di
Stefano, Xian Li and Dominic DiFranzo.
The Hasso Plattner Institute, located in Germany
is a non-profit Information Tecnology System
Engineering institute that maintains several lines of
research, including LD. It was founded and
financiated by the German professor Hasso-Plattner.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) also appears on the list, mainly due to the
work of professor Tim Berners-Lee. There are
several laboratories and programs related to the field
of computer science, including W3C and
Decentralized Information Group (DIG), which was
created by Berners-Lee and whose mission is to
investigate the effects of the use of information on
the web.
The Polytechnic University of Madrid appears in
fourth place in the list. Most authors of this
institution have been involved in the preparation of a
paper on the application of spatial data linked to data
provided by the Spanish public sector.
4.5 Main Keywords and Topics
Addressed by the Articles
As stated earlier, almost a hundred different
keywords were identified in the articles selected.
With this content, it was possible to create figure 2,
a cloud of terms that visually shows the frequency of
each term. The bigger the term, the most it has
The most prominent keyword in the research was
“linked data”. Similar terms also were relevant, llike
open government data, open government, open data
and linked open data. “Semantic Web”, which is
closely related to the concept of “linked data”, is
also in highlight.
Figure 2: Representation of keywords.
In addressing the different profiles from the selected
articles, a thematic classification in macro themes
was elaborated (Figure 3), in order to group articles
with similar proposals.
Figure 3: Macro themes and topics covered by the papers.
It was noticed that some articles are mainly
concerned with governmental issues related to LD,
mostly by addressing the consequences that such
concept would bring for government transparency.
The main themes identified in this sense were "open
government", "open data" (data open term closely
connected with the notion of transparency) and e-
Other articles, however, addressed technical
topics of LD, such as design issues, didactical issues
and also the presentation of practical results of
applying LD to government data, such as data
mashups and portals. Another issue that appeared in
some articles was geolinked data, a LD standard that
uses geographical data, which can also be made
available by the government.
The convergence of both of these main areas is
very well expressed in the central macro theme,
which is "linked open government data". Some
articles deal specifically with this term - i.e. an
article by Ding (2012) and another from Breitman
4.6 Most Cited References
Table 6 addresses the 15 most cited references by
the articles belonging to the conducted bibliometric
survey. Most of these 15 publications do not appear
in the bibliometric list. However, all the works
presented in Table 6 are relevant to the main topic of
this article. In fact, most of them present key pieces
to the elaboration of the so-called LOGD. Tim
Berners-Lee is an author of five of those articles.
Tom Heath and Christian Bizer both appear in three
of them. The presence of these specialists in this list
reveals its importance.
Two main types of publications can be perceived
in the group listed above: one from studies that deal
specifically with technical aspects of LD and the
other from studies regarding the applications of LD
in the publication and re-use of government data.
The most referenced work by the selected
articles in our bibliometric research deals with LD,
written by the biggest name in the bound data, Tim
Berners-Lee. In "Linked Data - The Story So Far",
the authors are interested in presenting the concepts
and principles of LD, which is defined as "a set of
best practices for publishing and connecting
structured data on the Web" (Bizer et al., 2009). The
technological foundations are also presented: the LD
is based on Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) and
HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTPs).
Moreover, it cites several achievements reached
in the first three years since the concept of LD was
published. One example of that would be the
Linking Open Data project, which has popular
background and is supported by the W3C Semantic
Web Education and Outreach Group (Bizer et al.,
The second work on the list, "Linked Data -
Design Issues," is signed by Berners-Lee and is
available online at the W3C Consortium. The four
rules for using LD are presented, which form the
data default format in the semantic web. Following
these rules is not obligatory, but not following them
means loss of semantics and data interconnection.
Therefore, Berners-Lee highly recommends the
observance of those rules.
The article "How to Publish Linked Data on the
Web" is the third most cited work. It provides a
tutorial on how to publish LD on the Internet and
presents the concept of LD, which, according to the
author, aims to "enable people to share structured
data as easily as they can share documents
today"(Bizer, C. Cyganiak, R, Heath, T, 2008). With
the purpose of achieving this goal, it presents a
series of recipes and methods about publishing
information in LD format.
The fourth most cited study, entitled "Putting
Government Data Online", provides an overview
about linked government data, a default format for
government data, whose purpose is to enhance
transparency, government efficiency and to
disseminate valuable knowledge for the society and
the government itself. With this in mind, Berners-
Lee presents a series of steps to greater efficiency in
opening up data, among these: the preference for
offering them as LD, connect these data with other
data sources and provide an understandable way of
assimilation and its digestion, aside from efforts to
improve interoperability – which is the compatibility
between different databases.
The bibliometric method employed in this study
enabled the realization of the fundamental aspects of
the state of the art research on government data
online. In fact, the results revealed the situation of
the dissemination of scientific knowledge involving
linked government data transparency and
government and what progress has already been
done in the discussion on this topic.
The results presented in this article point out to
the growth of the relevance of such research
Table 6: The 15 most cited references by the articles.
Authors Year Title Publication Source Cit
Bizer, C; Heath, T; Berners-Lee, T 2009 Linked Data - The Story So Far Journal; IJSWIS 13
Berners-Lee, T 2006 Linked Data - Design Issues Web Page; W3C 8
Bizer, C; Cyganiak, R; Heath, T 2008 How to Publish Linked Data on the Web Web Page 8
Berners-Lee, T 2009 Putting Government Data Online Web Page; W3C 8
worldwide. The impacts of the discussion on this
subject certainly are not restricted to the academic
sphere, which can be demonstrated by the evolution
of national legislations regarding government data in
several countries as well as the settlement of
international agreements that begin to set standards
on procedures in the public sphere. These
movements are in sync with the results of releasing
government data experiences on LD format in recent
years, especially those made in Britain and in the
United States.
Although most studies here raised come from
American, British and German institutions the
development of research in many other countries,
such as Brazil, Chile, Romania, Spain and Albania is
noteworthy, because it reveals recognition to linked
government data in a global level.
The conclusion reached in this study is that
linked government data is a new paradigm that
directly affects public sectors, creating new
possibilities for interaction between citizens,
businesses and government.
However, more extensive bibliometric research
can be made, considering the use of other keywords
in the databases, such as “Semantic Web”,
The most important consequences from the
meeting of this new paradigm with the demand for
more efficient public administrations must be
studied in detail, possibly with the development of
case studies and other convenient methods.
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