India has been ranked 34th among 77 countries in yet another open government data assessment report, as open government initiatives came under the lens at an annual summit in London last week.

As open government initiatives and models were focussed upon at an annual summit in London under the auspices of the Open Government Partnership last week, India did comparatively better in yet another international report on open government data released on the occasion.

In this report, 'Open Data Barometer', which evaluated countries on the basis of "the context, availability and emerging impacts of Open Government Data (OGD)", India was ranked 34th among 77 countries. The report was prepared by the World Wide Web Foundation and Open Data Institute and released at the summit by no less a person than Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

A set of more comprehensive and wider parameters seemed to have come into play in this report when compared to an earlier one released few days before, which was featured in an earlier post on this blog.

But just as the earlier report emphasised that releasing datasets by itself was not enough, this report too observed, "Successful OGD initiatives need more than just datasets. They also need intermediaries, able to take government data and turn it into platforms and products with social and economic value, and re-users equipped to access and work with data in different ways."

The broad areas covered were - readiness, which sought to identify "how far a country has in place the political, social and economic foundations for realising the potential benefits of open data"; implementation, which identified the "extent to which government has published a range of key datasets to support innovation, accountability and more improved social policy" and emerging impacts, which evaluated the "extent to which open data has been seen to lead to positive political, social and environment, and economic change."

India was awarded a score of 57.36 (out of a maximum of 100) in the readiness sub-index; 33.73 in the implementation sub-index and 9.87 in the impact sub-index. The overall score was 33.38. The UK, with a scrore of 100, topped the list.

India has adopted an open data policy and published more than 4,900 data sets so far on the portal data.gov.in. It is not part of the Open Government Partnership though.

Kenya ranked 22nd was rated as 'most advanced' among developing countries in OGD terms, even "outperforming richer countries such as Ireland and Belgium in global comparisons."

Despite the spread of OGD initiatives, "the availability of truly open data remains low, with less than 7 per cent of the dataset surveyed in the Barometer published both in bulk machine-readable forms, and under open licenses."

The report says that potentially controversial datasets like company registers and land registers "are among the least likely to be openly released. It is unclear whether this stems from reluctance to drop lucrative access charges, or from desire to keep a lid on politically sensitive information, or both."

Data was also often released in inaccessible formats. "Across the nations surveyed, fewer than 1 in 10 key datasets that could be used to hold governments to account, stimulate enterprise, and promote better social policy, are available and truly open for re-use."