[OpenSpending] New report: “Open Budget Data: Mapping the Landscape”

Jonathan Gray jonathan.gray at okfn.org
Wed Sep 2 17:09:29 UTC 2015

Some of you might be interested in this new report on “Open Budget Data:
Mapping the Landscape”, undertaken as a collaboration between Open
Knowledge, the Global Initiative for Financial Transparency (GIFT) and the
Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam.

Here's the blog post (also copied below):

And here's the report on the GIFT website:

We'd love to collaborate with others on further work in this area to
develop a richer empirical picture of who is using fiscal data (and fiscal
data projects) to what end - to inform action and interventions in this

We're also doing some analysis on the fiscal data visualisations collection
that we've been compiling (which partly derives from this mapping work) -
so if anyone else has any other examples to add, please do forward them on!

All the best,


September 2, 2015 in Featured <http://blog.okfn.org/category/featured/>,
Policy <http://blog.okfn.org/category/policy/>, Releases
<http://blog.okfn.org/category/releases/>, Research

We’re pleased to announce a new report, “Open Budget Data: Mapping the
as a collaboration between Open Knowledge <http://okfn.org/>, the Global
Initiative for Financial Transparency <http://www.fiscaltransparency.net/> and
the Digital Methods Initiative <http://digitalmethods.net/> at the
University of Amsterdam.
[image: Download the PDF.]

Download the PDF.

The report offers an unprecedented empirical mapping and analysis of the
emerging issue of open budget data, which has appeared as ideals from the
open data movement have begun to gain traction amongst advocates and
practitioners of financial transparency.

In the report we chart the definitions, best practices, actors, issues and
initiatives associated with the emerging issue of open budget data in
different forms of digital media to navigate this developing field and to
identify trends, gaps and opportunities for supporting it.

In doing so, our objective is to enable practitioners – in particular civil
society organisations, intergovernmental organisations, governments,
multilaterals and funders – to navigate this developing field and to
identify trends, gaps and opportunities for supporting it.

How public money is collected and distributed is one of the most pressing
political questions of our time, influencing the health, well-being and
prospects of billions of people. Decisions about fiscal policy affect
everyone-determining everything from the resourcing of essential public
services, to the capacity of public institutions to take action on global
challenges such as poverty, inequality or climate change.

Digital technologies have the potential to transform the way that
information about public money is organised, circulated and utilised in
society, which in turn could shape the character of public debate,
democratic engagement, governmental accountability and public participation
in decision-making about public funds. Data could play a vital role in
tackling the democratic deficit in fiscal policy and in supporting better
outcomes for citizens.

The report includes the following recommendations:


   CSOs, IGOs, multilaterals and governments should undertake further work
   to *identify, engage with and map the interests of a broader range of
   civil society actors* whose work might benefit from open fiscal data, in
   order to inform data release priorities and data standards work. Stronger
   feedback loops should be established between the contexts of data
   production and its various contexts of usage in civil society –
   particularly in journalism and in advocacy.

   Governments, IGOs and funders should support *pilot projects undertaken
   by CSOs and/or media organisations* in order to further explore the role
   of data in the democratisation of fiscal policy – especially in relation to
   areas which appear to have been comparatively under-explored in this field,
   such as tax distribution and tax base erosion, or tracking money through
   from revenues to results.

   Governments should work to make data *“citizen readable” as well as
   “machine readable”*, and should take steps to ensure that information
   about flows of public money and the institutional processes around them are
   accessible to non-specialist audiences – including through documentation,
   media, events and guidance materials. This is a critical step towards the
   greater democratisation and accountability of fiscal policy.

   Further research should be undertaken to explore the potential *implications
   and impacts of opening up information about public finance which is
   currently not routinely disclosed*, such as more detailed data about tax
   revenues – as well as measures needed to protect the personal privacy of

   CSOs, IGOs, multilaterals and governments should work together to *promote
   and adopt consistent definitions of open budget data, open spending data
   and open fiscal data* in order to establish the legal and technical
   openness of public information about public money as a global norm in
   financial transparency.


Jonathan Gray

Director of Policy and Research | *@jwyg <https://twitter.com/jwyg>*

Open Knowledge <http://okfn.org/>

*okfn.org <http://okfn.org/> | @okfn <http://twitter.com/OKFN>*
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