Highlights the lack of open and accessible data on the performance of key public services. If the political and social impacts of open data are to be realised, work to increase the supply of datasets from right across government will be needed, alongside sustained investment in capacity building, training and support for effective data use.
The core idea behind Open Government Data (OGD) is a simple one: public data should be a shared resource. Making data open is valuable not only for the government departments that collect and release the data, but also for citizens, entrepreneurs and other parts of the public sector.
The implementation of OGD takes dedicated and sustained policy attention. Affecting widespread impact through the release of OGD relies not only upon the supply of high-quality data, but also upon the capacity of users to work with the data, and the ability of government to engage proactively with those users.
In our complex world, access to OGD has the power to secure enhanced government accountability, empower coordinated action to improve public services and civil society, and inspire new business ideas. Yet far too often, access to data, along with the skills to understand and make use of it, are distributed unequally, and would-be users frequently encounter unnecessary technical and legal restrictions that prevent data re-use. Calls for a “Data Revolution” — led by the United Nations — have placed renewed attention on ensuring the collection and management of high-quality data around the world through strengthened statistical capacity, and are driving a focus on the use of new “big data” resources in policy making. Against this backdrop, questions concerning who has access to data, and whether citizens have the capability and freedoms to create, access, and analyse data about their own communities and concerns, become ever more important for securing a fair balance of power in our societies.