Table 4. Summary of priority datasets for building an anti-corruption data infrastructure

Dataset

Anticorruption category

Type of dataset

Interest declarations

Individuals and organizations

Register

Lobbying register

Individuals and organizations

Register

Company register

Individuals and organizations

Register

Charity register

Individuals and organizations

Register

Politically exposed people's list

Individuals and organizations

Register

Public officials register

Individuals and organizations

Register

List of government contractors

Individuals and organizations

Register

Corruption-sensitive postings

Individuals and organizations

Register

Council / advisory board members

Individuals and organizations

Register

Contracts register

Individuals and organizations

Register

Political parties finances

Public-related resources

Public disclosures

Budgets

Public-related resources

Public disclosures

Tender and award processes

Public-related resources

Transaction

Licenses, concessions and permits

Public-related resources

Transaction

PPPs

Public-related resources

Register

Spending

Public-related resources

Transaction

Government grants

Public-related resources

Transaction

International aid and financing

Public-related resources

Register

Audit data

Regulation, government procedures and records

Transaction

Voting records

Regulation, government procedures and records

Register

Court data

Regulation, government procedures and records

Transaction

Register of government projects

Regulation, government procedures and records

Register

Meeting records

Regulation, government procedures and records

Register

Records of changes in regulations

Regulation, government procedures and records

Register

Campaign promises

Regulation, government procedures and records

Register

Debarred or sanctioned contractors

Regulation, government procedures and records

Register

Public procurement complaints registers

Regulation, government procedures and records

Register

Land/Property register and cadastre (public land)

Rent Extraction

Register

Tax records

Rent Extraction

Register

Asset declarations

Rent Extraction

Register

For full data description see “Annex 1” or access: https://airtable.com/shrtE30MaSKb1sjko. The Anti-Corruption Open Up Guide

Availability challenges

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).

Table 5. Selected statistics from the 3rd Edition of the Open Data Barometer

Dataset

Percentage as fully open data

Percentage available online

Corporate registers

1%

72%

Least open dataset in the world with just Australia publishing it as open data and only for very top level data for free. Looking at all datasets available, it is only accessible online in a machine readable format and for free in just a dozen of countries. The absence of adequate open data on companies makes tracking beneficial ownership challenging and hampers efforts to tackle corruption.

Government spending

2%

4%

Weakest dataset in the study. Even in the limited cases when it is available online, the data is usually not published at the transactional level. Only four countries – the USA, the UK, Japan and Brazil – publish spending data at the transactional level and from those only two, the UK and Brazil, release this information as open data. This makes it nearly impossible for government, citizens and civil society to tackle corruption

Land ownership

5%

46%

Rarely available online, difficult to find when available and quite frequently behind paywalls.

Contracting

8%

82%

Only 28% of the data available online is in machine-readable formats reducing practical accountability as this makes analysing the high volume of historical data very difficult.

Budget

18%

97%

Comparatively one of the better datasets in terms of availability and openness. In 95% of countries where it was available it was regularly updated. In several instances it is even required by law to be updated and available, although not necessarily open.

Source: World Wide Web Foundation. Elaborated for the Anti-Corruption Open Up Guide

Foundations of a solid anti-corruption data infrastructure

Joining up data and standards for anti-corruption

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.

Table 5. Summary of priority data standards for building an anti-corruption data infrastructure

Open Contracting Data Standard

Data guidance for disclosing public procurement data in open formats about contracting processes from planning to implementation stage. Extensions for other types of contracting such as public private partnerships and concessions are under development. More information: http://standard.open-contracting.org/

Open Contracting Partnership(CSO)

Fiscal Data Package

Schema for publishing and consuming fiscal data, especially data generated during the planning and execution of budgets. It supports data on expenditures and revenues. More information: http://specs.frictionlessdata.io/fiscal-data-package/

Open Knowledge Foundation(CSO)

Popolo

Popolo is an initiative on open government data specifications. Its goal is to "define data interchange formats and data models so that organizations can spend less time transforming and modeling data and more time applying it to the problems they face". It allows standardization of data related to people, organizations, motions and voting, events, speeches, among others. More information: http://www.popoloproject.com/

Global Beneficial Ownership Register

An open schema under development for collecting and publishing beneficial ownership data globally. It will enable users to register in a standardized way data about the ultimate beneficiary or owner of a certain good (such as land) or an organization or entity (such as companies) across different countries. More information: http://openownership.org/get-involved/

Open Ownership (Global Coalition)

Open Corporates Schema

Schema for publishing and consuming data on companies worldwide, including data on jurisdiction, incorporation date, shareholders and subsidiaries. It recently incorporated beneficial ownership data released by the UK Government. More information: https://github.com/openc/openc-schema

Open Corporates (Private firm)

The Anti-Corruption Open Up Guide

Box 6. The G20 Open Data Portals: enablers of Anti-Corruption Data?

The G20 has recently pushed the open data agenda globally. Accounting for 85% of the gross world product (GWP), 80% of world trade and two-thirds of the world population, actions implemented by these countries can lead trends across the world. Taking this into account, open data portals from the G20 countries were reviewed to understand the ease for identifying anti-corruption related datasets.To start, only 16 out of 20 members have an open data portal. China, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey have not yet launched a portal where open government datasets can be accessed and downloaded. In total, these open data portals contain 593,220 datasets. The top three countries with more datasets available are Canada (41.3%), the United States (33.7%) and the United Kingdom (4.4%).Based on this sample, a series of related-corruption words —in the portal’s official language— were looked up through their own search engines. For example, when the words “Corruption” and “Anti-corruption” were key search words, a total of only 114 and 311 datasets were respectively found. This means that only 0.05% of the available datasets is directly classified as a resource that could be used for anti-corruption purposes. Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Germany, Brazil and Argentina yield 0 answers for both requests.Although, these results are not conclusive regarding the existence of anti-corruption data, they are prove that better categorizations or search mechanisms are needed to access such data. As matter of fact, the number of data fixed categories goes from 9 up to 33, making difficult to find data on similar issues across countries. Also, 50% of the open data portals reviewed (Australia, Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan and the USA) offer users the possibility of tagging freely datasets, allowing to search for information outside the standard categories. Regardless of the approach to be chose by each country, it is clear that there is a great opportunity for G20 governments to make their open data portals enablers of anti-corruption strategies.

The Anti-Corruption Open Up Guide