Although many governments have recognised the importance of open data and already make administrative data available to the public on a large scale, many companies are still reluctant to share their data among other firms and competitors. As a result, the economic potential of data is far from being fully exploited. Against this background, we analyse current developments in the area of open data. We compare the characteristics of open governmental and open company data in order to define the necessary framework conditions for data sharing. Subsequently, we examine the status quo of data sharing among firms.

We use a qualitative analysis of survey data of European companies to derive the sufficient conditions to strengthen data sharing. Our analysis shows that government data is a public good, while company data can be seen as a club or private good. Latter frequently build the core for companies’ business models and hence are less suitable for data sharing. Finally, we find that promoting legal certainty and the economic impact present important policy steps for fostering data sharing.