Open data: promise, but not enough progress from G20 countries

Open data: promise, but not enough progress from G20 countries

Open data is a pretty simple concept: governments should publish information about what they do – data that can be freely used, modified and shared by anyone for any purpose.

This is particularly important in the fight against corruption. In 2015 the Group of 20 (G20) governments agreed on a set of G20 Anti-Corruption Open Data Principles. These principles aim to make crucial data public specifically because they can help stop corruption. Publishing this data would allow civil society to monitor things like the use of public resources and taxes, the awarding of public contracts, and the sources of political party finance. It would make it easier to hold governments to account and deter criminal activities like bribery and nepotism.

Animated GIF of open data principles

Transparency International and the Web Foundation examined the extent to which five G20 countries – Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa – are living up to these principles. There are individual country reports (see below) as well as an overall report.

The basic conclusion: there isn’t enough progress. No country released all the datasets required, and much of the information proved either hard to find or difficult to use.

Key overall findings

No country released all anti-corruption datasets

When released, data is not always useful and useable

Data not published to open standards

Lack of open data skills

Alongside the overview report, five country-level studies (Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa) revealed a range of shortcomings in national commitments to G20 open data principles. The graphics below summarise the main finding and recommendation for improvement per country.

Brazil open data graphic

France open data graphic

Germany open data graphic

Indonesia open data graphic

South Africa open data graphic


Press release: “G20 countries are breaking commitments to publish data that helps tackle corruption

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