Diffusion of Open Data and Crowdsourcing among Heritage Institutions: Results of a Pilot Survey in Switzerland
In a pilot survey we examined the diffusion of open data and crowdsourcing practices among heritage institutions in Switzerland. The results suggest that so far, only very few institutions have adopted an open data / open content policy. There are however signs that many institutions may adopt this innovation in a near future: A majority of institutions considers open data as important and believes that the opportunities prevail over the risks. The main obstacles that need to be overcome are the institutions’ reservations with regard to free licensing and their fear of losing control. With regard to crowdsourcing the data suggest that the diffusion process will be slower than for open data. Although approximately 10% of the responding institutions already seem to experiment with crowdsourcing, there is no general breakthrough in sight, as a majority of respondents remain skeptical with regard to the benefits. We argue that the observed difference in the dynamics of the diffusion of these innovations is primarily due to the fact that crowdsourcing is perceived by heritage institutions as more complex than open data, that it isn’t readily expected to lead to any sizeable advantages, and that adopting crowdsourcing practices may require deeper cultural changes.