New research from Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation and the Open Data Institute places the UK at the top of the league table for open data, ahead of the United States.
The report comes ahead of an open government summit in London where David Cameron is to announce a proposal for a public register of company ownership which will show who ultimately owns and controls businesses.
The survey of the state of open data in 77 counties, notes that 55 per cent of the countries surveyed now have open data initiatives, but reiterates familiar problems for all users of open data:
- Valuable but potentially controversial datasets – such as company registers and land registers – are among the least likely to be openly released
- When they are released, government datasets are often issued in inaccessible formats
- Less than 7 per cent of the datasets surveyed are published in both machine readable forms and under open licences
- Data is often released only in highly aggregated forms
- Whilst countries might boast about releasing hundreds of datasets, if they aren’t the numbers demanded by citizens or those than can enable transparency or innovation there is little potential to deliver impact