Britain does a great job of opening its data, except for what journalists really want | Online Journalism Blog
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-04-17
"Journalist SA Mathieson has used open data in Britain to put together an impressive new ebook. In a guest post for OJB he looks at the country’s strengths when it comes to open data — and the problems still facing journalists who want to see how the public’s money is spent.
It is tough for a British journalist to admit that their government does something well, but here goes: when it comes to openly releasing data, Great Britain (in other words England, Scotland and Wales) is second only to Taiwan according to the Global Open Data Index. Westminster gets maximum marks for releasing data on the government’s budget, national statistics, administrative boundaries, national maps, air quality and company registers. Northern Ireland, assessed separately, is a respectable 10th out of the 94 countries assessed. Some specific recent improvements have made it easier and cheaper to do good journalism with public data: in June 2015, for example, Companies House, which covers England and Wales, dropped charges for online access to documents including companies’ annual filings. I was able to use that access to track how little tax companies including Facebook, Google and Apple pay in Britain. More generally, the Office for National Statistics releases a wealth of data in machine-readable formats...."