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UK ranked joint top of Open Data Barometer


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The UK has been placed joint top with Canada in the rankings of the Open Data Barometer, indicating that it retains its position as a world leader in making public sector data available for re-use.

Both countries have been given scores of 76 out of 100 on an overall assessment of open data initiatives, with Australia just behind with 75 and France and South Korea with 72.

It follows a one point increase for the UK compared with the previous edition, While Canada’s ranking increased by eight points.

The barometer is compiled by World Wide Web Foundation and looks at the performance of 30 governments that have made concrete commitments to champion open data, either by adopting the Open Data Charter or signing up to the G20 Anti-Corruption Open Data Principles.

Within the individual components used to assess the scores Britain’s best rankings were for the supporting legislation and public transport timetables, both of which are given 100. In most other areas it gets scores of at least 90, with four exceptions: map data and company registers on 85, national environment statistics on 75 and land ownership data on 70.

On a wider scale, the accompanying report says some worrying trends have emerged. These include the fact that fewer than one in five datasets are open, and there are signs of the early world leaders faltering. It points to the UK score declining slightly from a high of 81 three years ago.

In addition, governments still treat open data as a side project and failing to give it the necessary priority to embed it across agencies and departments.

Decreasing emphasis

Jeni Tennison, chief executive office at the UK’s Open Data Institute, commented: "The World Wide Web Foundation's new Open Data Barometer shows that the emphasis put on open data amongst the 30 open data government ‘leaders’ has decreased over the last five years. At the same time, a new batch of reformers - including Ukraine, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina - are rising in the ranks.

"While the use of data for artificial intelligence and creating more ethical use of personal data are of growing importance, open data - from both the government and the private sector - is still crucial to the foundation of the data infrastructure that every sector of our societies rely on.

"Countries like the UK, Canada, Australia, France and South Korea recognise this. They are learning how to integrate open data into their overarching national data strategies so that they both build strong foundations and deliver greater transparency, accountability, productivity and innovation.

"These data strategies and open data's role in them need political support and investment to avoid wasting the momentum the open data movement has generated."

Image by Jan Ainali, CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

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