The coalition’s drive to open access to official data was welcome, but more needed to be done to make information comprehensible, according to a report by the House of Commons’ public accounts committee, which monitors the effectiveness of public spending.
Official willingness to publish data was not enough, the committee said, since the information provided could be rather impenetrable. Some of the data are published as very large files that cannot be opened using a conventional home computer. Other files are difficult to interpret or can be only understood with the aid of large glossaries.
“It is simply not good enough to dump large quantities of raw data into the public domain, “ said Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee. “[Data] must be accessible, relevant and easy for us all to understand. Otherwise the public cannot use them.”