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Data quality is promoted together – the aim is efficient use of data resources

Twitterissä: @mrsbruun ‏
Kuva: Kari Likonen

Discussion concerning data has been lively both in Finland and in international contexts. The aim of the European Union's data strategy is to make the EU a leading data-driven society where the creation of a single market for data would enable easier data use throughout the EU.

The amount of data is increasing at a tremendous rate. At the same time, the data resources generated through public functions grow exponentially. At this time, it is unlikely that we fully comprehend what can be achieved with these data resources in future. 

Finland's data resources are already internationally considered to be of high quality. When we take the next step in utilising data resources, more important than the amount of data is how and on what principles data can be utilised in future. 

The project on opening up and using public data, headed by the Ministry of Finance, was launched in spring this year. The aim of the project is to promote wider and more effective use of public data throughout society.

As a measure to achieve this, a set of quality criteria for public administration data will be created and introduced. The aim of the jointly defined quality criteria is to facilitate a more versatile use of public administration data resources than at present, whether it be government activities or business activity. 

Data quality is a complex concept. Quality refers to, for example, the consistency, timeliness and coverage of data files. In addition, it can refer to the availability of data. Those involved in the creation of the quality framework should, should, through discussion, form a joint view of what these mean for public administration data resources and which sub-areas will be taken into account when assessing the quality of data.

The quality framework is defined and introduced in the Data quality framework sub-project. As a result, a common national tool suitable for assessing the quality of data resources and developing their quality is created, which should benefit both the producers and users of data. Our aim is to jointly achieve an understandable quality definition that supports versatile use and comparability of data.

Several agencies and actors are responsible for the data resources in Finland. Good interaction and close cooperation are needed for more versatile utilisation and interoperability of data resources.

When planning this cooperation, it has been great to notice that we are finding a common direction and a good set of central government actors are involved in clarifying it. 

Of the owners of basic data resources, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, the Social Insurance Institution, the National Land Survey of Finland, the Finnish National Agency for Education, the Finnish Patent and Registration Office, Finnish Customs, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the State Treasury, and the Tax Administration take part in defining the quality framework. The project is coordinated by Statistics Finland. 

This cooperation creates a solid foundation for the future data economy and society, which allows our valuable data to serve Finland in the best possible way in future. 

The Finnish Government submitted the Government report on information policy and artificial intelligence to Parliament in December 2018. When the report was approved by Parliament, a new policy area, information policy, was created in Finland. According to the report, information policy refers to policy measures which enable efficient, secure and ethical use of data.

The report forms perspectives on the use of information in future and maps out preconditions for use and possibilities for utilisation in a situation where artificial intelligence solutions become more common.

 Marjo Bruun is Director General of Statistics Finland.

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