Of all the countries in the world, the UK has the most open and transparent government when it comes to public data access.
With a “transparency” score of 100, a report compiled by the World Wide Web Foundation found it came top of a list of 86 countries for the second year running.
The foundation, set up by internet founder Tim Berners-Lee, considers the three categories of open data readiness, implementation and impact when it decides on what score to give a country.
The countries included span the developed and developing worlds, as well as countries constrained by their governments.
Behind the UK came the US and then Sweden, with scores of 92.66 and 83.7 respectively. Compared to the UK, the Republic of Ireland came surprisingly low in 31st position – two places lower than last year and the bottom European country.
The least open governments in the developed world are Singapore, with a transparency score of 46.06, Iceland with a score of 46.57, and Belgium with a score of 47.29.
At the bottom of the whole table are Mali, Haiti and Myanmar, also known as Burma, are at the bottom of the table.
But the success of the UK is as much as reflection of the lack of transparency elsewhere as it is about the extent of transparency in the UK. “This second edition of the Open Data Barometer shows that there is still a long way to go to put the power of data in the hands of citizens,” the report says.
90 per cent of countries surveyed had not released data that could help beat corruption and improve government services according to the report, and despite pledges by the G7 countries to boost transparency by making government data “open by default”, almost half of the G7 countries are still not publishing the key datasets they promised to release in 2013.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Web inventor and founder of the Web Foundation, said:
Governments continue to shy away from publishing the very data that can be used to enhance accountability and trust” and highlighted the power of open data “to put power in the hands of citizens.