Ranking the G8 Countries on Open Data

New report assesses progress in improving access to and use of government data
March 17, 2015

WASHINGTON – (March 17, 2015) Nations that make government data freely available for analysis, not only increase transparency and efficiency, but also promote data-driven innovation that can lead to positive impacts for the economy while improving the quality of life for citizens. Recognizing these opportunities, the leaders of the G8, a governmental forum of the world’s leading advanced economies, signed an agreement in 2013 committing to advance open data in their respective countries both through increasing information availability and improving its utilization in data analysis and research.

Open Data in the G8: A Review of Progress on the Open Data Charter, a report by ITIF’s Center for Data Innovation, assesses the current state of open data efforts in the G8 and ranks member countries on their current progress. The United Kingdom currently leads the pack, followed by Canada and the United States, while Russia finished last followed by Germany.

“Open data is not only a tool for improving transparency and citizen engagement, but it also has a significant impact on economic growth,” says Daniel Castro, Director of the Center and co-author of the report. “Many countries are sitting on vast untapped data resources, and those that figure out how to best leverage this information are going to be the most competitive in the global data economy. Nations that do not properly implement an open data strategy are leaving money on the table.”

The report ranks nations on their progress in implementing the five principles of the Open Data Charter. These are: release open data by default; ensure high quality and quantity of data; make data usable by all; release data for improved governance and release data for innovation. Countries could receive a total of 20 points per principle for a maximum of 100 points with scores ranging from 90 for the UK to 5 for Russia.

The report concludes by offering a series of recommendations to assist nations in enhancing open data development, and identifying key areas for improvement that all nations should follow. These areas include: improving international collaboration; generating greater political will and visibility around open data issues; providing enhanced support, education, and training to agency officials tasked with releasing open data; and undertaking more meaningful interactions with civil society to develop open data initiatives in the long-term.

“Some countries clearly have a head start in the race to be global open data leaders,” Castro adds. “But all countries have an opportunity to use open data to promote economic growth, government transparency and civic innovation. Every nation should consider what steps it can take to bring the benefits of open data to its citizens.”

Read the report.