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Last year we witnessed an impressive expansion of Open Government Data initiatives all around the world. We can assert without any doubt that it was clearly the year when Open Government spread throughout the world.
However, if we look at the map of the Open Government Data initiatives worldwide, we immediately detect than almost all of these initiatives incubated around Western Europe and North America. There is a big gap in the map, especially with reference to the developing countries.
Given the apparent benefits of Open Government Data programs, it is important to consider the development of similar programmes all over the world, and particularly in low and middle-income countries. But first, we need to go one step back and ask ourselves how we analyse if a given country is ready to engage and sustain an OGD programme, and how much we know from existing initiatives.
The World Wide Web Foundation took the first steps in this direction by conducting an assessment of the feasibility and potential of an OGD program in two countries – Chile and Ghana.
The bottom line questions were:
- Is the country ready to engage in an OGD initiative?
- If so, what support might they need?
- If not, why not, and what lesson can we take away from this assessment?
But while we were trying to give answers to these questions, new important questions arose:
- What pre-conditions exist?
- How much of what we know from existing initiatives is applicable?
- What are the indicators that will enable the definition of OGD readiness in a given country?
We decided to start by developing a new methodology for OGD readiness assessment, based on our experience and a previous study commissioned by the Transparency and Accountability Initiative and written by Becky Hogge from early 2010. For the assessment completion, we developed a questionnaire and conducted desk research and country visits to interview people and organisations that may be key to any future success.
The findings from the studies have enabled us to start a global debate that we aim to carry forward.