UK Number One for Open Data Sharing

The UK has been named the number one country to use open data for both social and economic benefit.

The report that shared the information was backed by Tim Berners-Lee and found that the UK was the top country for sharing government data, however a separate report found that only 13% of the 86 countries publish open data on government budgets.

The separate report, titled The Open Data Barometer Report, also discovered that only 8% of countries surveyed publish datasets in open formats and under open licenses on government budgets and spending, public sector contracts and who owns or controls companies.

Berners-Lee believes opening free, raw data to everyone is a great way to put power in citizens' hands.

He said: "Yet, this research indicates that governments continue to shy away from publishing the very data that can be used to enhance accountability and trust.

"The G7 and G20 blazed a trail when they recognised open data as a crucial tool to strengthen transparency and fight corruption. Now they need to keep their promises to make critical areas like government spending and contracts open by default. The unfair practice of charging citizens to access public information collected with their tax resources must cease."

7% of countries release open data on performances of health services, while only 12% share open figures on education.

The report pointed out that G7 countries are not leading the way in open data sharing, with the UK being the only country to have an open company register.

Jose Alonso, an open data programme manager at the World Wide Web foundation said: "The Open Data Barometer reveals some powerful common success factors across open data initiatives - high-level political commitment and sustained resources for building the capacity of data users both inside and outside government.

"Many developing countries have the political will but not the resources or capacity to succeed. The G7 and G20, as well as stakeholders like multilateral organisations, need to increase aid and lending for well-rounded open data initiatives to ensure that the "data revolution" doesn't leave developing countries behind."

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