Analytical Center studied the Open Data Management throughout the country

5 october 2016

The Analytical Center studied how regional executive authorities treat Open Data and came to conclusion that overall they lack a system or established practices in their work.

Most regions of Russia do not show any consistency when publishing open data. Open data can be found on websites of relevant ministries and agencies, and in expert opinion, it reduces accessibility and effectiveness of information. A potential customer is often not aware of what executive body can provide the data of interest, and has to spend time on searching. Several regions (about a half of all) copy data on the federal web portal. The fact that data arrays can be published both on an open data portal and on regional authority websites is a distinctive feature of the Russian approach to building a national open data portal, and it is not a violation of any rules.

The federal web portal is used as the only place for publishing open data by 4 regions only. Those are Arkhangelsk, Kirov, Orel, and Rostov.

There are other problems, too. For example, operation of the federal and regional open data portals are barely in sync, so technically regions publish data in manual mode and expertize of those in charge does not always match their duties.

Only 16 regions synchronize their data with the federal web portal automatically.

There are no evaluations available for actual and estimated demand for open data. Experts believe that this is due to two main reasons. Firstly, not all regions have automatic statistic surveys for user activity (views and downloads of data arrays in the first place). Accordingly, it becomes impossible to monitor the demand and effectiveness of data, thus being a formalistic approach to requirements and recommendations to data transparency and disclosure. Secondly, statistics calculation method for the user activity varies from region to region, which makes such indicators hardly comparable. For example, the number of downloads may or may not include the number of times the open data array was viewed by users.

Most often open data are accessed by users in Moscow (64.5 million), Tula (1.8 million), and Tomsk (792,000) regions.

Where there is active open data policy work, the most popular are arrays and applications designed to meet everyday household need of the people.

Most popular (both in terms of the number of views and downloads) are data arrays about the State. Those are followed by Education, Economics, Environment, and Health.

However, in most cases data disclosure does not take into account the needs of potential users, and this situation does not contribute to the potential improvement of the quality of life.

Experts believe that regional authorities must optimize their methods of treating open data, paying more attention to performance evaluation and HR policies, and remembering the role education plays.