Expert: It is necessary to focus on the quality of posted information

30 july 2014

Analytical Center held a seminar-webinar on issues regarding placing publicly available information about public authorities on the “Internet” in the form of open data

During the seminar, experts discussed the regulatory issues, reviewed a new version of guidelines and different formats of open data publication. A functional open data portal of the Russian Federation was demonstrated to the participants.

Deputy Director of the Department for state regulation in economics of the Ministry of Economic Development Pavel Malkov said that the project was officially launched in 2012. “Since that time, much has been done, but there are still serious shortcomings, - he said. - Someone is in the very beginning, some agencies are already active, but the posted data is not always kept up to date. “According to him, today, when a large amount of data is being published, it is necessary to focus particularly on the quality of that information.

“The most spectacular example of what are machine-readable data needed for- data on public procurement - the official said. - Here, all the information is collected on a specialized portal that provides free access to all information, which is suitable for automated processing.” According to Mr. Malkov, it promotes the efficiency of budget spending and the creation of mechanisms of social control. Russian Ministry of Economic Development provides support in any issue regarding the placement of open data; a hotline and special mailboxes are also organized.

Deputy Director General of the Analytical Center Vasily Pushkin, presenting a report, made a definition of “publicly available information” as information that in accordance with the laws is published by its owners in the “Internet” in a format which allows automated processing. “It is important to note that the decision to classify information as publicly available and publishing it as open data, is taken directly by the public authority, - he said. - At the same time, information cannot be classified as publicly available if it contains information regarding the activities of public and local authorities, if in accordance with the law it is referred to as restricted information”. In some cases it may cause descriptive confusion. “Often it is recognized that the published information should describe the activities of public authorities, - said Mr. Pushkin. - But the law stipulates very clearly - it is the entire information that is gathered by the information systems of public authorities and which is necessary for them to perform their functions”.

Deputy Director of the Project Management Department of JSC “Gosbuk” Yuri Linkov noted that the portal has solved several problems that have been raised while working with open data. It technically united a vast array of information, allowing unifying the data and providing an opportunity for feedback and interaction with the public. “There was the need for a resource that would allow the creation and implementation of a common technological policy in the field of open data, and the portal has solved this problem,” - said Mr. Linkov.

Analyst of the JSC “Gosbuk” Michail Parfentiev explained the provision of the guidelines on publication of the open data by public and local authorities, he also spoke about a new version of the guidelines. “Version 3.0 is a successor to version 2.3, - the analyst said. - It clarifies and specifies the previous version, fully preserving the work principle”. As a result of the improvement process, a terminological base has been extended, ways of publishing in the technological infrastructure section were described, applications were expanded as well. Speaking about obligatory and alternative ways to publish data, Mr. Parfentiev noted that in the first case, the publication can be provided through the open data section on the official website of the public authority or the open data portal of public authorities or through the Open Data portal of the Russian Federation, and in the second - through a third party site, ftp-server or file-sharing protocol BitTorrent.

The seminar was attended by representatives of the federal executive authorities, including technical specialists who are responsible for placing the open data. Participation of the representatives of the executive authorities of the subjects of the Russian Federation was provided in the webinar format. The event was jointly organized by the Analytical Center and Ministry of Economic Development of Russia and the working group under the Governmental Commission for the coordination of open government “Open data Council”.