Open Knowledge

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 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.

Geographical Insights

United Kingdom

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

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

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

Kosovo

Post-war Kosovo was lucky to establish an administration without the burden of legacy systems. yet from the age of policy decision making to the current status, the lack of capacity and ability to adapt is beginning to be an impetus to the country's progress. See full insight

South East Asia

There are few countries in Southeast Asia region - Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Lao PDR, Singapore, East Timor and Malaysia - that are falling behind in the global open data movement, while others - Indonesia and Philippines - are advancing as members of Open Government Partnership. So, how are these countries in Southeast Asia doing relatively to the rest of the world and with each other?

How open is Southeast Asia? See full insight

Taiwan

Taiwan staggeringly claims the world’s highest penetration of Facebook users to overall population. This has also contributed to a fast, and to some degrees even vicious, cycle of feedback loops on public discourse of any datasets released from dozens of data portals. This has greatly enhanced visibility of the agenda carried on by the #GODI15 on the island.

From the government perspective, another major contributing factor has been the establishment of the formalised mechanism on public consultation, in forms of dedicated committees in all ministries. A total of 30+ were established in first half of 2015, and seat rotation on a 1~2 year nominal terms is enacted, with majority of members from the government plus selected few from civil society, academia and private sectors. This has served very well to raise awareness of Open Knowledge and the #GODI15 inside the government, and serious actions were taken to study the #GODI15 in detail as early as 2013. This proves to be somewhat controversial in the final outcome, but we are seeing how the Index has formally affected the perception and assessment of its own mandates and initiatives in Taiwan. The discourse around #GODI15 is public in meeting minutes that are available through taking a look at http://data.gov.tw.

See full insight

Regional visualisation

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/

Thematic Insights

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.

See full insight

Elections Results

How “open” are election results data around the world? Answering that question just became much easier. For the first time, the Global Open Data Index 2015 assessed election results data based on whether the results are made available at the polling station level. In previous years, the Index looked at whether election results were available at a higher (constituency/district) level, but not at the polling station level.

As a result, the 2015 Global Open Data Index provides the most useful global assessment to date on which countries are and are not making election results available in an open way. It also highlights specific open data principles that most countries are meeting, as well as principles that most countries are not meeting. This helps inform the reform agenda for open election data advocates in the months and years ahead.

Before we take a look at the findings and possible ways forward, let’s first consider why the Global Open Data Index’s shift from constituency/district level results to polling station results is important. This shift in criteria has shaken up the rankings this year, which has caused some discussion about why polling station-level results matter. Read on to find out!

See full insight