The Open Data Barometer

Open is international and the Open Data Barometer, now in its second year, gauged 86 countries in 2014 on a variety of metrics. That number is up from 77 countries in 2013.

The United States does just fine, but the main takeaway is that

…there is still a long way to go to put the power of data in the hands of citizens. Core data on how governments are spending our money and how public services are performing remains inaccessible or paywalled in most countries. Information critical to fight corruption and promote fair competition, such as company registers, public sector contracts, and land titles, is even harder to get. In most countries, proactive disclosure of government data is not mandated in law or policy as part of a wider right to information, and privacy protections are weak or uncertain.

The steps identified as those necessary to make the needle move this year are common sense, achievable and precisely what we’re working on accomplishing:

 

  • High-level political commitment to proactive disclosure of public sector data, particularly the data most critical to accountability.
  • Sustained investment in supporting and training a broad cross-section of civil society and entrepreneurs to understand and use data effectively.
  • Contextualizing open data tools and approaches to local needs, for example by making data visually accessible in countries with lower literacy levels.
  • Support for city-level open data initiatives as a complement to national-level programmes.
  • Legal reform to ensure that guarantees of the right to information and the right to privacy underpin open data initiatives.

 

You can read much more detail here and throughout the Barometer’s website. Naturally, being about open data, you can download the data yourself and see what you can see.

This concluding quote, from the freedominfo.org (a site focused on Freedom of Information Act issues) article, “Open Data Barometer Finds Low Pressure, Small Gains,” seems apt as we aspire to new levels of open in Northeast Ohio:

The web has clearly evolved from a platform centred on documents to become a data-rich platform. Yet, it is public policy that will shape whether it is ultimately a platform that shares data openly about powerful institutions, enabling bottom up participation and accountability, or whether data traces left online become increasingly important, yet opaque, tools of governance and control. Both open data campaigners and privacy advocates have a key role in securing data revolutions that will ultimately bring about a better balance of power in our world.

There is so much innovation, inspiration and advancement to be found in the open. And hey, the United States is currently #2 on the Barometer. A good way to end the first week at openneo.org.

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