Open government data (OGD) is fast becoming a political objective and commitment for many countries. Its implicit promise to support economic growth and to improve public services, as well as to promote government transparency and accountability make it an attractive policy objective. While many governments are rushing to launch political commitments and online portals, the majority have yet to demonstrate the benefits of open government data, let alone prepare plans for realising those benefits.
Many difficult questions remain such as who will pay for the collection and processing of public data if it is made freely available? What are the incentives for government bodies to maintain and update their data? And what data sets should be prioritised for release in order to maximise public value? Steps are therefore needed to develop a framework for cost and benefit analysis, to collect data, and to prepare case studies demonstrating the concrete benefits -- economic, social, and policy -- of opening government data.
The OECD Open Government Data project aims to progress international efforts on OGD impact assessment. The mapping of practices across countries will help establish a knowledge base on OGD policies, strategies and initiatives and support the development of a methodology to assess the impact and creation of economic, social and good governance value through OGD initiatives. The methodology was first put forward in the Working Paper “Open Government Data: Towards Empirical Analysis of Open Government Data Initiatives”, and is being validated in collaboration with government representatives from OECD countries as well as non-government stakeholders.
The application of the OECD methodology should support national assessment exercises and enable identification of metrics that will provide an evidence base to support governments’ business cases for open government data, as well as help them to identify the necessary steps to design and implement open government data action plans.
What is Open Government Data (OGD)?
The two main elements of OGD are normally defined as follows: Government data is any data and information produced or commissioned by public bodies; Open data are data that can be freely used, re-used and distributed by anyone, only subject to (at the most) the requirement that users attribute the data and that they make their work available to be shared as well.
Public datasets considered as a reference for OECD analysis of OGD initiatives include: business information, registers, patent and trademark information and public tender databases, geographic information, legal information, meteorological information, social data, and transport information.
We welcome feedback on the project, the working paper and related issues. Please contact the report author Barbara Ubaldi directly (Barbara.Ubaldi@oecd.org).
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