FAQ

What is the Global Open Data Index?

The Global Open Data Index measures and benchmarks the openness of government data around the world, and then presents this information in a way that is easy to understand and use. Each year the open data community and Open Knowledge produces an annual ranking of countries, peer reviewed by our network of local open data experts. Launched in 2013, the first edition of the Index reviewed the state of open government data in 70 countries, with over 1,300 submissions and over 60 volunteer country editors analysing over 700 government data sets. The Index focuses on 15 key datasets (see question below for a complete list) that are essential for transparency and accountability (such as election results and government spending data), and those vital for providing critical services to citizens (such as maps and water quality).

How is the Global Open Data Index different from other surveys and trackers?

Each year, governments are making more data available in open formats. The Global Open Data Index tracks whether this data is actually released in a way that is accessible to citizens, media and civil society, and is unique in crowdsourcing its survey results of open data releases around the world. Crowdsourcing this data provides a tool for communities around the world to learn more about the open data available in their respective countries, and ensures that the results reflect the experience of civil society in finding open information, rather than accepting government claims of openness. It also ensures that those who actually collect and review the information that builds the Index are representative of the very people who use the data and are themselves in a strong position to advocate for more and higher quality open data. The Global Open Data Index is also uniquely easy to read — anyone can read and understand the results. The Global Open Data Index is not only a benchmarking tool, it also plays a foundational role in sustaining the open government data community around the world. If, for example, the government of a country does publish a dataset, but this is not clear to the public and it cannot be found through a simple search, then the data can easily be overlooked. Governments and open data practitioners can review the Index results to locate the data, see how accessible the data appears to citizens, and, where improvements are necessary, advocate for making the data truly open. This increases its usefulness and broadens its impact.

Why is this needed?

An increasing number of governments have made commitments to open up their data. But it’s not clear that these commitments are actually being fulfilled. How much data is actually being released? What kind of data is it, and in what format is it published? Which countries, regions and cities are the most advanced and which are lagging behind in relation to open data?

The Global Open Data Index allows people to compare the state of open data between countries and to measure progress year upon year. This encourages governments, local administrations, and citizens, media and civil society to work towards improving the quality and increasing the quantity of open data. Since the Global Open Data Index launched in 2013, a number of governments — including Russia, Indonesia, Germany and France — have used the Index as a yardstick for their achievements and progress(or lack thereof). The Index also acts to establish global norms for open government data, and provides guidance to civil society and policy makers about where new opportunities may lie to advance the open government agenda.

What is Open Data according to the Open Definition?

The Open Definition stipulates that data is open if anyone is free to access, use, modify, and share it — subject, at most, to measures that preserve provenance and openness. Read the full text of the Open Definition .

Why do we only have nine qualifying questions for each dataset?

The Global Open Data Index uses nine key qualifying questions for each dataset in order to make data collection and evaluation easier. We aim to simplify the process as to maximise the amount of people who contribute to the Index, across local administrations, countries, regions and languages. Our aim is also for each dataset to be carefully validated against theOpen Definition. The questions were developed based on the openness criteria there.

Why is the Open Data Index Community contributor driven?

We want to understand how civil society is able to find open data in each country. We are looking at a range of datasets that cut across interests and activities and there is no reason to assume one person is well placed to assess all of them. By working with a broad group of contributors, those people in each country most interested in a particular dataset can contribute their expertise and knowledge, raising the overall quality of the Global Open Data Index and creating a valuable resource that is useful for activists and journalists seeking out datasets as well. Open is built by the power of global community everywhere. We are building on our strengths. More generally, the Global Open Data Index is a powerful tool to raise awareness of open data with new groups, and to build capacity and understanding. Getting involved in contributing to the Index in your country is a great way to start out in open data.

What about providing an tool to measure open data in cities?

Good question! In fact, if you want a city based or even a regional local Index, you can build it. We encourage you to request a city Index for your area. Learn more about this here. We have had a huge amount of interest in this work and encourage your engagement on the local level as well. Or, feel free to suggest this with your local networks, and see if you can team up with other city censuses to work on these together. If you’re ready to start up a city census in your area you can get started here.

What organisations are involved in the Global Open Data Index?

The Global Open Data Index was initiated by Open Knowledge in 2013 (known as the Open Knowledge Foundation at the time). It is maintained, coordinated and hosted by Open Knowledge and with contributions from many members of the wider community around the globe. Join the discussions through the Open Data Index forum . It is supported by The Open Data for Development Initiative.

What datasets are included in the Global Open Data Index?

There are 15 datasets included in the Global Open Data Index. We have aimed to keep datasets simple, clear and easy to understand, and as applicable as possible to most countries worldwide. We encourage your participation in debates around dataset definitions and refinements.

  • Transport timetables
  • Government budget
  • Government spending
  • Government contracts
  • Election results
  • Company register
  • National map
  • National statistics
  • Legislation
  • Location datasets
  • Emissions of pollutants
  • Water quality
  • Land ownership
  • Weather forecast
  • Health performance

For more details on these datasets, please see our methodology section.

What is the "Changes" Tab?

This page shows the most recent submissions to and activity on the Index. Check here to follow the progress of this year’s Census.

How reliable is the Global Open Data Index?

The information in the Index is collected by open data enthusiasts and experts around the world. The Index data undergoes a process of expert review before being published, to ensure high quality results. For more information, please see the methodology section.

How can I view previous Indexes?

Right now we're focused on the 2015 Index and so the information live on the site is revolves around it. Older Indexes can be find in the following link - http://datahub.io/dataset/open-data-index-2013.

What's the Open Data Index data collection and review process?

Once a year we open the Index for a contribution period of a month. Experienced practitioners and experts from around our network get approached and asked to make contributions for their country. You can make a submission in the Global Open Data Index by going to global.census.okfn.org, where the submission is queued up for review. These will remain queued up for the full duration of the sprints. After the contribution period, expert reviewers will go in and review all submissions and push the correct ones to the Census league table. The final, reviewed results will be transferred to the non-editable Global Open Data Index and press release will be produced. for more details, please refer to Methodology section.

How can I improve the Index information for a given country?

If you've got information about a dataset that isn't in the Index yet you can add it! Anyone can submit new information to the Index by following these steps:

  • Select your country in the list and click on it.
  • You are now on the Country overview page for that country
  • Click the blue “Submit Information" button on the right next to the appropriate dataset category.
  • Login to the system by using your Gmail or Facebook account.
  • Fill the form based on the dataset you have found (there are detailed instructions on the page).
  • Click Submit. Your submission is now waiting for review, and will be visible in the table as 'awaiting review' after a few minutes.

Please see further details in the Index tutorial.

How can I correct an existing entry in the Index?

One a submission has been made, no other submission can be added to that dataset until it will be reviewed. However, you can comment on a submission that is awaiting review and flag important information to the reviewer.
Please see further details, including more information about contributing and commenting on each particular dataset, in the tutorial.

I want to help but I'm not sure where to start!

It’s easy to make a contribution to the Index! Learn how to get started in the tutorial. This year’s contribution period opens on August 25th and goes through September 20th. We would love for you to be involved. Follow #GODI5 on Twitter for more updates.

Where can I discuss the Global Open Data Index with others?

Join the discussion on the Open Data Index forum

I'm confused! How can I get help?

There are lots of people who can help on the forum and there are no silly questions, so we encourage you to post there.