Open Data 500 Korea Goes Live

Today, The GovLab is pleased to join our partner, the National Information Society Agency (NIA), in announcing the official launch of Open Data 500 Korea, a study of the open data ecosystem in South Korea. Korea is the newest member of the Open Data 500 Global Network, an international network of organizations and government agencies that study the use and impact of open data by businesses and nonprofits. 

We are delighted to have our colleagues, Professor Kyujin Jung of Tennessee State University and Professor Han Woo Park of YeungNam University, share insights about the open data ecosystem and policymaking in Korea, as well as the  current strategic direction for releasing more government data.

Launching Open Data 500 Korea

By Kyujin Jung (Tennessee State University) and Professor Han Woo Park (YeungNam University)

Designing the open data ecosystem in Korea

Opening up public data provides value to both businesses and nonprofits when entrepreneurs and managers recognize what kinds of open data are available, where to find it, and how to utilize it effectively in the emerging open data ecosystem in Korea. Today we are pleased to announce the launch of Open Data 500 Korea rooted at The GovLab at New York University as well as the Open Data Portal ( coordinated by the National Information Society Agency (NIA) in Korea.


The open data ecosystem in Korea started from the Act on Provision and Active Use of Public Data enacted on June 27, 2013 and enforced since October 31, 2013. The aim of the Act is not only to make clear the citizen’s right to use open public data and mandate public sectors including government agencies and quasi-public organizations to provide public data, but also to create high value added new industry foundation and jobs through active private sector usage of public data. Under the Act, the Open Data Strategy Council is co-chaired by the prime minister and experts appointed by the prime minister. The principal agency is the Korean Ministry of the Interior (MOI) planning and coordinating open data ecosystem, and the NIA Open Data Center under the MOI provides specific policy and technical support for the users of open data in Korea.

Strategies and direction

Since the enactment of the Act in 2013, MOI and NIA have facilitated national agencies and local governments to establish each an enforcement plan to open public data. The enforcement plan for the open data ecosystem addresses the following four dimensions: performance evaluation for the provision and use of open data in the previous year, details of the master plan for the year, budget management plan for the year, and other matters necessary for the operation of the open data policy. In terms of setting up the enforcement plan, the open public data directives, as a pan-government framework, have played a critical role in facilitating national agencies and local governments to understand the vision, objectives, and priorities of the open data ecosystem. Specifically, the enforcement plans has resulted in a dramatic increase of open data rate from 16.1% in 2013 to about 50% in 2015 by opening 9,259 sets of government data.

Open Data 500 Korea

Open Data 500 Korea is a joint project between GovLab and NIA to conduct a comprehensive, internationally comparable study of private sector entities using open public data in Korea. This project aims to provide a basis for assessing the economic and social value of open data by encourage the development of new open data companies as well as fostering a dialogue between government and the private sector on how open data can be made more useful. Now, Korea is proudly affiliated with the Open Data 500 Global Network which encompasses the United States, Australia, Italy, and Mexico. Open Data 500 Korea is expected to be part of the Korean open data ecosystem providing a critical opportunity to turn innovative ideas into business opportunities and jobs with open public data.

In line with Open Data 500 Korea, MOI and NIA will play a pivotal role in improving the Korean open data portal with high-quality open data through pan-government efforts. For instance, NIA is currently implementing the “Data Big Bang Project” which aims to open up more demandable and valuable public data that private companies and citizens sorely need. Recently added open data such as, national hiking trail information opened by the Korea Forest Service and regional and local commercial market information presented by the Small Enterprise and Market Service, is also part of the NIA project. That is, the expected outcome of Open Data 500 Korea and the open data portal is not only economic advantages, but also the benefits embedded in a society such as transparency, accountability, and civic engagement.

Use Cases documented in Open Data 500 Korea

MediLatte is an application for customized hospital information service developed by AD Ventures that began its service in October 2012. Overall it has been downloaded by over 600,000 users and also had about 30,000 daily visits. The application marked 1 million USD revenue in a year as well as received 1 million USD investment funded by foreign capitals. Its open data source is hospital information provided by the National Health Insurance Service and local governments. In this hospital marketing platform, patients receive benefited coupons and rapid appointments by choosing hospitals partnered with MediLatte, and the hospitals have reduced marketing costs to attract more patients via MediLatte partnerships.

Locnall, a venture company using open data, developed Driver Kim in 2010. Driver Kim is an application to provide navigation and location based information services, and reached over 100 million downloads and 3 million USD investments from domestic and foreign funding agencies. Driver Kim mainly utilizes real-time highway data opened by the Korea Expressway Corporation and map data presented by SK Planet for mapping traffic information. More importantly, this application added its value by developing user-based restaurant and travel services with the function that all users share their recommendations and evaluation.

An additional 300+ uses cases from Korea’s Open Data 500 study can be found here


While there are significant challenges associated with opening highly complicated public data for entrepreneurs and citizens, the open data ecosystem as itself is already increasing the role of experts in national economy as well as democratic society. Open Data 500 Korea is the cornerstone of the ecosystem, implying that the widespread and effective utilization of open data is a great way to foster innovative activities of private sector and to improve transparency and accountability of government agencies. Incorporating more Korean companies using open data into open data Korea 500 as well as identifying their needs living the open data ecosystem would be the next phase of collaboration between GovLab and NIA.

Kyujin Jung is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Administration at Tennessee State University. His research has appeared in Public Administration Review, Government Information Quarterly, Local Government Studies, and Quality & Quantity. He has performed the Quick Response Grant Research funded by the National Science Foundation to investigate interorganizational collaboration and the IBM Center for the Business of Government-funded research to study effective leadership in public service collaboration. His research interests include interorganizational arrangements, social network analysis, and issues related to metropolitan governance.

Han Woo Park is a Full Professor in the Department of Media & Communication, Interdisciplinary Programs of East Asian Cultural Studies, and of Digital Convergence Business at YeungNam University, South Korea. His research focuses on the use and role of open (big) data in extending academic, governmental, and business networks in scientific, technical, and innovative activities. He is currently the president of the World Association for Triple Helix and Future Strategy Studies. He has founded a prestigious conference ‘DISC’ on big data, government 3.0, and triple network in Asia. He also sits on the consulting boards of European Union project on open data in collaboration with Oxford Internet Institute where he used to be a visiting scholar. Further, he is strongly affiliated with several prestigious journals on open government and big data such as Big Data & Society.


  1. オープン データ 500 韓国行くライブ|Open Data 500 Korea Goes Live | オープンデータとプログラミング - November 29, 2015

    […] オープン データ 500 韓国行くライブ|Open Data 500 Korea Goes Live […]

Leave a Reply