Operating model for data sharing


The operating model for data sharing is a comprehensive model that supports the opening of data. This operating model for data sharing describes the stages of data sharing and the obligations and recommendations that should be taken into consideration when sharing data. The document includes a great deal of useful additional material for each step. The operating model contains a number of examples of data sharing and proven practices used in organisations that have shared their data. 

The operating model mainly focuses on the sharing of data as open data, i.e. data that anyone can use free of charge, as long as they comply with the necessary terms of use. However, the operating model also contains instructions that are useful for sharing data in general.

Data sharing can boost operational efficiency, and when data is opened for general use, it can help promote e.g. democratic and administrative transparency and the creation of new innovations.

Open data is machine-readable data that can be accessed, edited, and shared by anyone for any purpose, including commercial activities. Open data is licensed with an open licence that specifies its terms of use. Examples of open data include census data, map data, or real-time bus location data.

A dataset is an identifiable collection of data. In this operating model, the terms data, information, knowledge, dataset, and data product often refer to the same thing.

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a documented interface that allows software, applications, or systems to exchange data or functionalities.

The operating model is primarily intended for public administration actors, but it can also be utilised by others who are interested in opening their data to others. The operating model can be used in many scenarios, such as when:

  • The organisation’s representatives want to familiarise themselves with sharing data as open data or providing data for wider use, and the topic is new to them.
  • The organisation intends to share its data with a limited group or provide it to the public as open data and needs instructions on how to proceed.
  • The organisation has already shared its data but could stand to improve its processes and consequently has a need for additional instructions and/or experiences from other organisations.

The operating model provides soft, data/information-related guidance, and its aim is to help different actors share their data and promote the formation of uniform operating methods, especially around open data. In other words, the operating model for data sharing is not an official recommendation or policy.

Operating model for data sharing in brief

The operating model for data sharing consists of ten steps, as shown in the figure below. 

  • Steps 1–3 provide general support before the data sharing phase. They support the reader’s understanding of the benefits of sharing data to society, as well as the obligations set by legislation, for example.
  • Steps 4–6 focus on identifying shareable datasets, deciding on the data that will be shared, and implementing the actual publication of the data.
  • Steps 7–9 describe the tasks related to the maintenance of shared data, which are repeated throughout the life cycle of the dataset. 
  • Step 10 focuses on issues that need to be considered in the event that an organisation intends to cease sharing its data.


Each step of the operating model contains a brief introductory overview of the step in question and the roles that could participate in it. 

Each step includes sections that explain the topic in more detail. Valuable additional information is available in the blue sections that can be opened separately, and it is recommended that you read them.

The end of the operating model includes a checklist for sharing data. The checklist includes a summary of the instructions provided in the operating model.

Information about the operating model


The operating model was originally developed with an open and requirement-based approach with stakeholders between 2021 and 2022. The work progressed under the guidance of the Ministry of Finance’s “Opening up and using public data” project in cooperation with the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. The content production process also included Statistics Finland, the City of Helsinki (Helsinki Region Infoshare: open data service), the State Treasury, Finnish Environment Institute, Finnish Meteorological Institute, National Land Survey of Finland, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and Open Knowledge Finland. Deloitte Consulting Oy lent its support to the work.

The operating model will be developed further on an annual basis. A new version will be published every autumn.


Version 3 of the operating model for data sharing was published in November 2023. The operating model has also been published in Finnish and Swedish.

Referring to the operating model

Always acknowledge the source when you refer to the content and examples of this operating model. For example, you can refer to the content as follows:

Digital and Population Data Services Agency. (2023). [name of step]. Operating model for data sharing. Version 3. Available at: https://www.avoindata.fi/en/operating-model. Referred to on [date].

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Contact us by email at avoindata@dvv.fi and tell us about your development idea. We will continue to develop the content of the operating model based on user feedback.