5.5. Open government data

Technology is profoundly influencing government openness. Rapid technological progress has significantly increased the amount of data generated in societies, including by government organisations. Open government data (OGD) can be used to strengthen public governance by improving the design of public services with a citizen-driven approach, enhancing public sector efficiency and responsiveness, and spurring public sector integrity and accountability. By ensuring OGD availability, accessibility and use by public, private and civic actors, governments can design more evidence-based and inclusive policies, stimulate innovation inside and outside the public sector, motivate data-driven civic engagement, better-inform citizens’ personal decisions and enhance public trust. Making data and evidence available across government departments and ministries contributes to better policy making, greater coordination and empowers businesses and civil society to also contribute.

The OECD Open-Useful-Reusable government data (OURdata) index measures government efforts to promote data availability and accessibility, and to stimulate data use and re-use outside and inside government. France, the United Kingdom and Korea are particularly advanced in promoting OGD, while some other countries still have yet to meet OGD best practices (see OECD, 2017b).

Most countries have “open-by-default” policies, thus scoring relatively highly for data accessibility (0.2 on average in the OECD out of a potential 0.33). Provisions for accessibility also score relatively highly in most countries (0.22 on average). However, the extent of central/federal initiatives to promote data re-use (such as “hackathons” and co-creation events) and inside governments (via training and information sessions for civil servants) varies greatly and is reflected in relatively weaker scores for government support for re-use (0.12 on average). Moreover, few countries monitor the economic and social impact of open data, as well as the impact of open data on public sector performance, with Korea as a notable exception. Most OECD governments regularly consult stakeholders on data needs, but few have developed a central/federal data portal as an exchange, collaboration and crowdsourcing platform where users can provide feedback for continuous improvement. Such consultations may also include representatives of the citizens to whom much data held by governments relates directly or indirectly. This offers the chance for concerns citizens may have about governments holding and “opening” such data (e.g. in relation to privacy) to be aired and addressed. Empowering users and supporting platforms of exchange among businesses, civil society and government organisations is a key next step to promoting re-use and achieving positive impacts.

The Global Open Data Index (GODI) provides a complementary view on the extent to which government data in 15 key areas are open. Government budgets, national statistics, procurement and national laws are generally the most openly available, while water quality, government spending and land ownership information are among the least open.

Did You Know?

Korea and France have the most developed systems for promoting open government data availability, accessibility and re-usability.

Definitions

Government data include data held by national, regional, local and city governments, international government bodies and other public institutions.

The OURdata index takes a maximum value of 1 when a country has measures across all of the component dimensions and a value of 0 when no measures exist.

Data availability summarises the content of the government’s open-by-default policy, stakeholder engagement for the prioritisation of data release and the availability of strategic open government data (OGD) on national portals (e.g. national election results, national public expenditures and, national censuses).

Data accessibility summarises the availability and implementation of formal requirements relating to the publication of OGD, with an open licence, in open formats and with descriptive metadata, as well as stakeholder engagement to improve data quality.

Data reusability summarises the existence of policies for re-use. These consist of: active data promotion initiatives and partnerships, such as through events targeting different groups of (potential) users; data literacy programmes in government, which encourage public servants to utilise open government data, and monitoring of impacts on public sector performance or wider social/economic impacts.

Open data and content can be freely used, modified and shared by anyone for any purpose. The Global Open Data Index (GODI) assesses government data in 15 key areas from government spending to weather forecasts, and takes a maximum value of 100 when data are openly licenced, machine readable, easily downloadable, up-to-date and free of charge.

Measurability

The OECD Survey on open Government Data was conducted in late 2016. Responses, predominantly from chief information officers in OECD countries, provided evidence of current practices and procedures regarding OGD, which were then analysed to ensure the soundness of the results. The dataset comprises 140 data points, which refer only to central/federal government. See OECD, 2017b.

The GODI is crowdsourced from civil society participants and individually assesses the openness of government data in 15 key areas. For full information see: https://index.okfn.org/about/.

Open-Useful-Reusable Government Data Index, 2017
1.0 = all openness criteria met
picture

Source: OECD (2018). See 1.

1. Each component of the index can take a maximum value of 0.33.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933930402

Useful government data, government support for data re-use, 2017
1.0 = all openness criteria met
picture

Source: OECD (2018). See 1.

1. Each component of the index can take a maximum value of 0.33.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933930421

Global Open Data Index, total and selected categories, 2016
100 = all openness criteria met
picture

Source: OECD, based on Open Knowledge International, http://index.okfn.org, October 2018. See 1.

1. Open data and content can be freely used, modified and shared by anyone for any purpose. The Global Open Data Index (GODI) assesses government data in 15 key areas and takes a maximum value of 100 when data are openly licenced, machine readable, easily downloadable, up-to-date and free of charge.

The 15 areas of government data covered are: government budget, national statistics, procurement, national laws, administrative boundaries, draft legislation, air quality, national maps, weather forecast, company register, election results, locations, water quality, government spending and land ownership.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933930440

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