“2015 saw a lot of positive changes having to do with Open Data. In total over 12,000 data sets were published; downloads exceeded hundreds of thousands; over 150 applications are now available and in addition, open data are already creating added value in the form of paid services and cost optimization,” said Vasiliy Pushkin, the Deputy Head of the Analytical Center. Last week he took part in the meeting of the Open Data Council that looked at what was achieved last year and discussed plans for the future.
As part of the initiatives of the Ministry for Economic Development and the Open Government, the Analytical Center did a great amount of work to analyze the problems faced when implementing Open Data, promoting the open data community and developing specialized services and applications based on open data in Russia. Mr. Pushkin mentioned the hackathons, the Open Data contest and the Open Data Summit – the events that in total brought together about 1,000 representatives from the federal, regional and municipal governments, developers, experts, researchers, journalists and representatives of non-profit organizations. An entire community has emerged around open data and now it is a popular topic of discussion and promotion that is no longer limited to a handful of enthusiasts, the expert is sure.
“We have moved on from public benefits and development of socially important and occasionally commercially viable applications utilizing open done to talking about how to organize the use of Open Data within Government and shared access to open data,” Mr. Pushkin believes. “In this regard open data represent a new tool that has allowed government authorities to get a broader look at their own capabilities.” The emergence of simple services that utilize Open Data and their intelligent combinations are having an effect and making the basic services and Open Data related business areas more attractive. As government authorities talk to each other, experts and independent developers they discover new opportunities for using their own Open Data and services. Examples of this include the Employment in Russia web portal of the Ministry for Labor, joint research by the Ministry for Education and Science of Russia, the Education Supervision Service and the Russian Pension Fund into the employment of university graduates of Russia, the open data of the state purchases portal and many others, he noted.
“Late last year and early this year we started talking about how to improve the efficiency of state governance, employ project management and reform the public service. I personally see great potential of open data utilization by state authorities,” Mr. Pushkin said. In his opinion, the rate at which information is collected and processed and organization of systemic data exchange between state authorities are going to expedite the decision making process based on reliable data.
As for plans for the future, Mr. Pushkin believes that this year standards need to be developed for how to publish and link data, ensure they can be accessed through a single portal. New regulations are also needed and training of personnel in the basics of how to work with various kinds of data, including open data, must continue.
Based on Open Government materials