The Index is more than just a benchmark. It allows us to explore and and examine what are the strengths and the weaknesses in publishing data. It also allows us to see what we don’t measure and how we need to tackle these issues for a better state of open data in the future. The Insights are written by our community. To submit and insight, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)[Index@okfn.org]
The following page contains insights on the index from a local or a thematic perspective. You can find full versions of these insights on our Open Knowledge blog.
For a third year running the United Kingdom has come out at or near the top of the Global Open Data Index. Unlike many of the countries that did well in previous years, the UK's overall standing has not been greatly affected by the addition of five new categories. This demonstrates the broad scope of the UK's open data programme. Practitioners within UK government who work to develop and release open datasets have much of which to be proud.
However the UK's role as an open data leader also carries the risk of overconfidence. Policymakers can easily be tempted to rest on their laurels. If we look in more detail at this year's submissions we can find plenty of learning points and areas for further development. There are also some signs the UK open data agenda may be losing momentum. see full insight on our blog
Rwanda’s move up the Global Open Data index rankings from 74th to 44th comes at a time when the open data conversation is gathering pace in the country. As Rwanda’s cabinet prepares to debate the draft national open data policy in early 2016, the focus over the next year should move from the supply of data to stimulating demand and encouraging use of open data. see full insight on our blog
Uruguay has made the news lately mostly due to our unconventional former president José “Pepe” Mujica, and several of his government’s initiatives dealing with legalized abortion, regulated marijuana market and egalitarian marriage. It’s not the first time in history that our small country brings up innovative ideas (as with divorce by mere will of the wife or the 8 hour workday at the beginning of the XXth century) but what most people don’t see behind the “maverick” headlines is the steady but usually slow processes that follow. Our country is not -and probably never was- in a rush. And Open Data doesn’t escape that contradictory logic that reigns everything over here; that tension between innovation and resistance to change. This year’s seventh position in the Global Open Data Index tells only part of that story. Open Data initiatives had a relatively early start from the government side, but amazingly demand actually came after that. Government policy and initiatives such as it’s Open Data Portal have been praised and recognized, but we’re still working on a firm legal framework that supports the whole thing long term. In civil society, we’ve been lucky enough to launch a couple of surprisingly successful projects, but struggle with only a handful of organizations actively involved in Open Data and Open Government. We need to “open“ the open data space (pun absolutely intended). see full insight
Tarek Amr, Open Knowledge ambassador in Egypt, created a visualisation of the index by regions . Data is taken from the Global Open Data Index API. You can see the data here - http://2015.index.okfn.org/chart/
Tenders and Awards
For the first time ever, the Open Data Index is assessing open data on public tenders and awards in this year’s index. This is crucial information. Government deals with companies amount to $9.5 trillion globally. That’s about 15% of global GDP. Schools, hospitals, roads, street lights, paper clips: all of these are managed through public procurement.
Public procurement is the number one risk of corruption and fraud in government. Too often, when government and business meet, public interest is not the highest priority. Scandals from failed contracting processes abound: ‘tofu’ schools, constructed to substandard specifications in an earthquake zone, that fell down on their students; provision of fake medicine and medical equipment that kills patients; phantom contracts siphoning off billions of dollars dedicated to national security; or kick-back schemes in contracts that steal direly needed monies from school children.
To make sure this money is spent fairly and honestly, it is essential that data is disclosed on how much, when and with whom governments spend money on.