Summary: priority datasets
In many countries, open data remains a very recent policy agenda. Since 2009, an increasing number of countries, regions and institutions have launched open data portals, yet few of the datasets crucial to combatting corruption are currently open by default. The 3rd Edition of the Open Data Barometer measures the availability of open data across 92 countries, and covers five key accountability datasets: corporate registers, government spending, land ownership, contracting and budget. On average, less than 10% of them were available as open data (see table 5).
A solid anti-corruption data infrastructure can only be built when the relevant datasets can communicate with each other. The higher the number of connections, the better the chance of using the datasets to spot potential corruption red flags. Based on the priority datasets for building an anti-corruption data infrastructure (see table 4), a series of core data elements have been identified and have also been matched to available open data standards.
A data standard is a framework for how data should be collected and published, including how to describe individuals and organisations, how to register specific events or transaction and how to organize data to meet minimum quality requirements. Using a standardised approach means that different datasets can talk to each other. Moreover, the adherence to open data standards contributes in securing that a larger number of users can benefit from the data available.
It is desirable that both governments and civil society, review the existing availability of data and agree on a route map to disclose it as open data. At the same time, it is important to review how data is structured and assess if it needs to be restructured to meet open data standards.