More than 1300 submissions and more than 60 editors around the world worked on a research project and they developed the Open Data Index for the first time. In the last week of October 2013, the Open Knowledge Foundation -an international non-profit organisation working to open up information around the world published the Open Data Index 2013. This index provides first major assessment of state of open government data. To me, this is an important step to build fair, just and sustainable societies as this ‘can be used to empower citizens and organizations’.
Numbers of governments have committed to open up data, but unfortunately very little key information is actually being released. Only 70 countries were assesses and other countries were not assesses, often because they were not open enough to have an active civil society able or free to safety carry out the research. The total numbers of datasets were 700 in this Open Data Index research and found only 85 datasets are open and thus, the openness is only 12%.
The measurement of Open Data Index 2013 was a community-based effort initiated and coordinated by the Open Knowledge Foundation. This community driven crowdsourced work has been compiled ‘using contributions from civil society members and open data practitioners around the world, which are then peer-reviewed and checked by expert open data editors’. ‘The Index provides an independent assessment of openness and ranks countries based on the availability and accessibility of information in ten key areas: transport timetables; government budget; government spending; election results; company registers; national map; national statistics; legislation; postcodes / ZIP codes; emissions of pollutants’, and reveals that whilst some good progress is being made, much remains to be done.
Countries assessed (in rank order): United Kingdom, United States, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Australia, Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, Iceland, Moldova, Bulgaria, Malta, Italy, France, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Israel, Czech Republic, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Croatia, Isle Of Man, Japan, Serbia, Russian Federation, Ecuador, South Korea, Poland, Taiwan R.O.C., China, Indonesia, Hungary, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Jersey, Guernsey, Slovak Republic, Bermuda, Romania, Costa Rica, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Singapore, Lithuania, South Africa, Cayman Islands, Egypt, Nepal, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Gibraltar, Belgium, Hong Kong, Barbados, Bahamas, India, Bahrain, Yemen, Burkina Faso, Kenya, British Virgin Is., Saint Kitts & Nevis, Cyprus.
The UK and US top the 2013 Open Data Index and they are followed by Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands. ‘Of the countries assessed, Cyprus, St Kitts & Nevis, the British Virgin Islands, Kenya and Burkina Faso ranked lowest’. It has also been noticed that there are only three South Asian countries were assessed and interestingly Bangladesh stands first in the context of openness in South Asian level with total score 335. Nepal scores 300 and India 215. India ranks 63rd Position out of 70 countries in this new Open Data Index 2013. ‘There are many countries where the governments are less open but that were not assessed because of lack of openness or a sufficiently engaged civil society. This includes 30 countries who are members of the Open Government Partnership’.
The Open Data Index has been developed to help answer whether the available data legally or technically usable so that common people, non-profits, other civil society organisation and business organisations can realize the full benefits of the information. It is also possible to identify countries with the most advanced or lagging in relating to open data. This crowdsourced research shows that governments are still not providing enough information in an accessible form to their citizens and businesses.