FOI Notes: Funding, Open Data, More Open Data

8 November 2013

Funding: Making All Voices Count: A Grand Challenge for Development announces its first ever Global Innovation Competition.  At the event, the Making All Voices team emphasized that the competition is seeking new, original and innovative ideas from anywhere in the world, from companies, organisations, government agencies and individuals. The Competition opens on November 12, 2013 and closes on December 6, 2013.

The Global Innovation Competition is looking for innovative solutions to increase government transparency and accountability. The best new ideas and proven concepts from around the world will receive a £65,000 grant and the two runner ups will each receive a £35,000 grant. In addition, seven smaller prizes of £5,000 will be awarded.  The best applicants will compete through both a public online voting and a peer-review system. The top 10 semi-finalists will be flown to Nairobi for a Global Innovation and Award Week.

Inspired by the OGP, the Competition seeks submissions relating to one or more of four topics:

  • Budget Transparency
  • Access to Information
  • Asset Disclosures Related to Elected or Senior Public Officials
  • Citizen Engagement

Open Data: The Open Data Barometer “aims to uncover the true prevalence and impact of open data initiatives around the world. It analyses global trends, and also ranks countries and regions via an in depth methodology that considers: readiness to secure the benefits of open data; actual levels of implementation; and the impact of such initiatives.” This report also marks the first large-scale research collaboration between the Open Data Institute and the World Wide Web Foundation.

The Open Data Barometer revealed the following:

•55 per cent of countries surveyed have formal open data policies in place.

•Valuable but potentially controversial datasets – such as company registers and land registers – are among the least likely to be openly released. It is unclear whether this stems from reluctance to drop lucrative access charges, or from desire to keep a lid on politically sensitive information, or both. However, the net effect is to severely limit the accountability benefits of open data.

•When they are released, government datasets are often issued in inaccessible formats. Across the nations surveyed, fewer that than 1 in 10 key datasets that could be used to hold governments to account, stimulate enterprise, and promote better social policy, are available and truly open for re-use.

•The top five countries in the Open Data global rankings are: United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, New Zealand, and Norway. The rankings were based open data readiness, implementation, impact, and score in the Open Data barometer.

Open Data: The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative “seeks to support global efforts to make agricultural and nutritionally relevant data available, accessible, and usable for unrestricted use worldwide. The initiative focuses on building high-level policy and public and private institutional support for open data. The initiative encourages collaboration and cooperation among existing agriculture and open data activities, without duplication, and brings together all stakeholders to solve long-standing global problems.”

Open Government: proposes a “New Voices Working Group on Open Government and Civic Technology.” This effort is inspired by the Pew Internet and American Life Project’s Citizen Engagement in the Digital Age report and a series of popular round tables held by E-Democracy on the “new voices” aspects of the report held at the Sunlight Foundation and Code for America. E-Democracy also hosts the Digital Inclusion Network and leads a lesson-generating pilot initiative on local online participation in lower income, highly diverse, high immigrant neighborhoods.

Joined-Up Data: This study “explores the standardised disclosure requirements of five multi-stakeholder transparency initiatives: Construction Sector Transparency Initiative, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency, International Aid Transparency Initiative and Open Contracting.” The paper was written by Neil Ashton of the Open Knowledge Foundation and edited by Bill Anderson of Development Initiatives.

OGP: Jonathan Gray of the Open Knowledge Foundation writes about open government goals, concluding:

The OGP has potential to be a hugely invaluable way for citizens and civil society groups to engage with the civil servants and state officials who represent them. It is an opportunity for them to have frank discussions about their aspirations and concerns in an impartial extra-national context. But for this to happen, the OGP must keep its focus firmly on how states can better serve and be more responsive to the needs of citizens, and should not be sidetracked by commercial opportunity or digital ephemera.

Latin America:  La Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información presents the book “Collective Force: Lessons from the Regional Alliance for advocacy, which reviews the operation of the alliance. To read the book click here.

Open Data: McKinsey & Company reports: “Our research suggests that seven sectors alone could generate more than $3 trillion a year in additional value as a result of open data, which is already giving rise to hundreds of entrepreneurial businesses and helping established companies to segment markets, define new products and services, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations.”


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