Revolution Delayed: The Impact of Open Data on the Fight against Corruption

Report by RiSSC – Research Centre on Security and Crime (Italy): “In the recent years, the demand for Open Data picked up stream among stakeholders to increasing transparency and accountability of the Public Sector. Governments are supporting Open Data supply, to achieve social and economic benefits, return on investments, and political consensus.

While it is self-evident that Open Data contributes to greater transparency – as it makes data more available and easy to use by the public and governments, its impact on fighting corruption largely depends on the ability to analyse it and develop initiatives that trigger both social accountability mechanisms, and government responsiveness against illicit or inappropriate behaviours.

To date, Open Data Revolution against corruption is delayed. The impact of Open Data on the prevention and repression of corruption, and on the development of anti- corruption tools, appears to be limited, and the return on investments not yet forthcoming. Evidence remains anecdotal, and a better understanding on the mechanisms and dynamics of using Open Data against corruption is needed.

The overall objective of this exploratory study is to provide evidence on the results achieved by Open Data, and recommendations for the European Commission and Member States’ authorities, for the implementation of effective anti-corruption strategies based on transparency and openness, to unlock the potential impact of “Open Data revolution” against Corruption.

The project has explored the legal framework and the status of implementation of Open Data policies in four EU Countries – Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, and Austria. TACOD project has searched for evidence on Open Data role on law enforcement cooperation, anti-corruption initiatives, public campaigns, and investigative journalism against corruption.

RiSSC – Research Centre on Security and Crime (Italy), the University of Oxford and the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom), Transparency International (Italy and United Kingdom), the Institute for Conflict Resolution (Austria), and Blomeyer&Sanz (Spain), have carried out the research between January 2014 and February 2015, under an agreement with the European Commission – DH Migration and Home Affairs. The project has been coordinated by RiSSC, with the support of a European Working Group of Experts, chaired by prof. Richard Rose, and an external evaluator, Mr. Andrea Menapace, and it has benefited from the contribution of many experts, activists, representatives of Institutions in the four Countries….(More)