copy the linklink copied! Open government data: Enabling policy maturity and sustainability

Data are one of the most valuable resources in today’s societies, economies and governments. Open government data (OGD) policies are set on ideas and principles that centre on making data from public bodies available to everyone in open, free and accessible formats. Practices from OECD countries show that access to government data can foster social participation, business opportunities, and innovation, creating added value from existing information.

The Open Useful Re-usable data (OURdata) Index assesses and benchmarks open government data policies and their implementation. It ranges from 0 to 1, 0 being the lowest score and 1 the highest. It is composed of three indicators, which have an equal weight of 0.33: data availability, data accessibility and government support for data re-use. Each indicator ranges from 0 to 0.33.

The results of the 2019 OURdata Index reveal an overall growing maturity in terms of OGD. The OECD average increased from 0.53 in 2017 to 0.60 in 2019, driven by improvements in the three indicators: data availability increased from 0.18 in 2017 to 0.20 in 2019, data accessibility from 0.21 to 0.23; and government support from 0.15 to 0.17.

Previously low performing countries are starting to catch up to frontrunners such as Korea (total score 0.93), France (0.90) and Japan (0.75). Ireland’s National Open Data Strategy, Poland’s Public Open Data Programme, and Slovenia’s Public Administration Development Strategy are examples of strategies that have resulted in great progress. Other countries have sustained their progress since 2017, including the Netherlands and Canada, scoring 0.65 and 0.73 respectively in 2019. In contrast, Finland and the United Kingdom, who were among the top in 2017, now perform more poorly, explained by shifts in political priorities, reallocation of policy responsibility and decreasing overall support.

Stronger policy frameworks, and an increasing understanding of the value of stakeholder engagement, have increased data availability in most OECD countries. Australia stands out with an increase from 0.14 in 2017 to 0.24 in 2019, largely due to a higher level of stakeholder engagement for data release. Although, in general, there was only a slight improvement on the number of available datasets, some countries have prioritised a “publish with purpose” approach, i.e. publishing government datasets that are of higher value for citizens and businesses as open data (for instance, business registers, weather data, and state budget data)- most notably Australia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.

Data accessibility is strong across OECD countries. As in 2017, Austria (0.32), Colombia (0.32) and France (0.31) are leaders in the area. Today, 30 out of 33 OECD countries require government data to be available free of charge; 29 require data to be available with an open licence, and 31 require data to be provided in machine-readable formats. The advancement of OGD portals has also contributed to increased levels of interaction with users for data quality and completeness.

In general, governments have also intensified their efforts to support the reuse of OGD. For example, 21 out of 33 OECD countries, are prioritising building skills and capacities within the public administration. Compared to 2017, more countries are exploring the potential impacts of OGD through research or by collecting re-use examples. Nevertheless, the support for OGD reuse among citizens, businesses and other external stakeholders has remained constant.

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Methodology and definitions

Data for the OURdata Index are collected through the OECD Open Government Data Survey. Thirty-two OECD countries and one accession country (Colombia) responded to the 2018 survey. Respondents where predominantly senior government department officials in charge of digital and open government policies. Data refer only to central/federal governments and exclude practices at the state/local level.

The composite OURdata Index is based on the International Open Data Charter principles and methodology described in OECD work (Lafortune and Ubaldi, 2018). It consists of three indicators: Data availability, Data accessibility and Government support for data re-use. The score for each indicator corresponds to an unweighted simple average of each sub-indicator The Index does not measure the impact of open government data on socio-economic outcomes, but rather the work governments do to provide sufficient conditions to enable and stimulate its re-use.

For more information on the methodology and underlying data, see Annex E.

Further reading

Lafortune, G. and B. Ubaldi (2018), “OECD 2017 OURdata Index: Methodology and results”, OECD Working Papers on Public Governance, No. 30, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://doi.org/10.1787/2807d3c8-en

OECD (2018), “Open Government Data Report: Enhancing Policy Maturity for Sustainable Impact”, OECD Digital Government Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264305847-en.

Figure notes

Data for 2017 are not available for, Hungary, Iceland and Luxembourg. Data for 2019 is not available for Hungary, Iceland, Turkey and the United States. On data for Israel, see http://doi.org/10.1787/888932315602.

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9.4. Open Useful Re-Usable data (OURdata) Index, 2017 and 2019
9.4. Open Useful Re-Usable data (OURdata) Index, 2017 and 2019

Source: OECD (2016, 2018), Open Government Data Survey.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934031180

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Photo credits: Photo credits: Illustration Cover © Jeffrey Fisher.

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Open government data: Enabling policy maturity and sustainability