Analytical Center Experts Note the Relatively Low Engagement of State Authorities with Publication of Open Data

31 august 2015

The Analytical Center experts have looked at the information published on the Russia’s open data portal and found that data are being published slowly, little attention is being paid to relevance and the topics are quite unbalanced.

Russia launched its open data portal in 2013 and for the past 2 years Russia has been consistently approaching the level of data transparency of G7 countries where national open data portals were created a long time ago and function successfully today. The portal has been growing steadily and at a fairly fast pace as well: in 2014 the amount of data sets available through the portal went up by 72.34% and in 2015 so far it has gone up 46.2%. Today the number of open data sets available through the portal is approaching 4 thousands, however, Russia has still got a long way to go before it catches up with the leaders of open data publication: Canada has got 214,000 data sets on its open data portal, the US has about 137,000, the UK has a little over 20,000.

Are all government agencies showing interest in engaging with the portal, are some of them publishing more data and could be cited as examples for others to follow and what metrics should the others be looking at? In the new issue of the Open Data Bulletin the Analytical Center experts present a rating of activitities of state organizations on the open data portal.

The experts named the Federal Statistics Service the absolute leader among federal executive authorities. It has published 671 data sets.  However, if we forget about the Federal Statistics Service as it has got just too much of very useful and interesting information on all sorts of topics, the other leaders in terms of the number of published data sets are the Ministry of Science, the Federal Roads Agency and the Ministry of Energy, with the latter two having significantly improved their open data publication performance since 2014. Other federal ministries and agencies have published far fewer data sets on the portal. Out of the 70 ministries registered with the portal only 15 are active (i.e. 21.5% of the total), with the largest numbers of data sets being published by the Federal Statistics Service (49.77%), the Ministry of Science (3.69%) and the Federal Roads Agency (3.40%).

Among regional governments the governments of Tula and of Moscow have remained absolute leaders in terms of the number of data sets published for the past two years.  The Administration of the Head of the Chuvash Republic, the Government of Ulyanovsk Oblast and the Government of Volgograd Oblast have been publishing fairly large amounts of data.

However, besides the simple fact of publication of data, the quality of the information being disclosed is also important.  Any information, including the data published on the portal, have a tendency to become obsolete and lose relevance.  So from this viewpoint not all data sets available through the portal offer equal quality of information. The analysis found that at the time of the study no more than 30% of the data sets found on the portal were up-to-date. A number of the data sets do not even have information about when they were published. They also lack contact information or information about the date and contents of the latest update.

For 44 federal government organizations all of their published open data sets turned out to be out of date.  The best performance on this score with over 50% of published content being up to date was demonstrated by the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (75%), the Ministry of Energy of Russia (72%), the Federal Statistics Service (69%), the Federal Road Agency (60%) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (58%). The situation in the regions is the same, as only 22 regional executive authorities have up-to-date data sets available through the portal.

The Open Data Bulletin is a new series of regular analytical publications that the Analytical Center began publishing in 2015.