The leaders Edition, state of 10 years of Open Data & Open Gov activism
This week is marked by the release of the 5th edition of the barometer by the Web Foundation : Leaders edition; and for the first time since its launch the barometer cover only 30 countries.
In this post, I won’t repeat what have been said in the report, but I will try to give explanations and recommendations to get the most from open data, not only to leaders.
Why this edition is so special ?
Among the 30 countries studied, scores in this Leaders Edition were, on average, two to three times higher than the scores of a wider group of 115 governments measured in the Fourth Edition. Which mean that these governments are indeed leaders in terms of overall performance.
This have been said, the overall conclusions remain the same over the last 5 years :
- Government still treat open data as a side project
- Fewer than 1 in 5 datasets are open
- Early world leaders are faltering
So first of all, the number of countries compared to the previous edition declined from 115 to 30 countries. Which mean comparing rank between the fourth and fifth edition is meaningless.
Secondly if we look at the top 10 countries in this edition, we’ll notice that the emerging impact is almost higher than 50 – except the last two countries. This is the key element of success of any open data initiative, if you release data to the public and nobody is able to use it, that mean you are not in the right way.
Finally, if we consider that most open data initiatives are treated as side projects, we cannot expect higher impact ! Governments should not release open data to get a higher score in any barometer. Open Data should answer citizens everyday’s problems. if we want governments collaborate with their citizens, private sector, and NGOs, we need to see the results of this collaboration in the impact’s score.
Where are the ODC adopters ?
Many national and local governments adopter the open data charter principles, some of them are part of this leaders edition. Except two national governments, most of the emerging impact scores in this leaders edition are higher than 10.
The example of Sierra Leone is amazing, because with the lowest readiness and implementation score of respectively 33 and 23, they were able to get a score of 10 in impact which is Huge performance !
Where to go next ?
I think the ODC is where governments should go next if they are not there, however the formula of success in any open data initiative is very simple :
- Classify your data
- Implement information systems to manage all your data
- Automate the publication process with your OD portal
- Communicate with data users
- Go to step 1.
Following these steps governments should be able to comply with ODC charter principles by publishing by default accessible and usable data in a timely and comprehensive way.
I think governments looking to get the most of open data should work more on implementing strong information systems and integrate them with their open data portals. That’s the first part, the second part is to communicate with data users via events or hackathons, to evaluate the quality of data they are publishing and find out the missing data that the users need.
And if we will be able to make open data a part of day-to-day governance, we should not see it anymore as a side project. Governance and citizen engagement will be highly improved, and we can finally talk about innovation around open data, and the possibility of seeing some impacts on the economy.
Thank you and looking to hear your feedback and suggestions.