Skip Navigation

Transparency of Public Algorithms (FR0035)



Action Plan: Not Attached

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active


Lead Institution: Minister of State for the Digital Sector, attached to the Prime Minister

Support Institution(s): All ministries

Policy Areas

E-Government, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Pending IRM Review

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review


Improving transparency of public algorithms and source codes
Lead institution(s):
Minister of State for the Digital Sector, attached to the Prime Minister
Other stakeholders:
New commitment
OGP principles with which the commitment is associated:
Access to information, accountability
Algorithms have an ever greater part to play in implementation of public policies – in the fields of education and public finances, for example. Their transparency is of key importance in providing citizens with information on administrative decisions.
The Law for a Digital Republic, enacted on 7 October 2016, introduced two major provisions fostering greater transparency into the Code on Relations between the Public and the Administration. The first extends the principle of information to algorithmic processing: any person who is the subject of an individual administrative decision taken on the basis of an algorithm must be informed of the fact and may demand access to the algorithm’s main operational rules (its contribution, data used, etc.). The second includes source codes in the list of communicable administrative documents.
Furthermore, Article 16 of the same law provides for administrations encouraging use of free software and open formats during development, purchase and use of all or part of such information systems.
Accompanying the opening of public algorithms and source codes
Implementation of these new provisions requires accompaniment of administrations and, more generally, better understanding of the issues, potentialities and risks involved in the use of algorithms in management of public action.
It is for this reason that Etalab has undertaken to develop a methodology in collaboration with administrations for opening algorithms and codes contained in their information systems. Such assistance is already underway with the General Directorate of Public Finance (DGFiP) (opening of the tax calculator’s source code) and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (mission on conditions for opening the Admission Post-Bac system). In addition, the Interministerial Directorate for Information and Communications Systems (DINSIC) has undertaken composition of a guide on how to open administrations’ source codes, starting with a consultation on an initial version of the guide carried out from December 2017 to January 2018 .
The specific issues connected with learning algorithms will also be taken into account in work on use of algorithms in public action.
The road map in detail

Producing 5 public algorithm monographs in order to identify technical, legal and organisational issues. Getting civil society to participate in their study. 2019
Making recommendations to administrations on essential information on public algorithms, in compliance with the principle of algorithmic transparency 1st half 2018
Drafting a guide to opening public source codes for use by administrations 1st half 2018
Organising hackathons based on opening public algorithms 2nd half 2018 – 2nd half 2019
An application case of the opening of models and source codes: OpenFisca
Since 2014, Etalab has been developing and making OpenFisca available to public administrations and civil society. OpenFisca is an open computation engine and API. It makes it possible to model the socio-fiscal system, to simulate the impact of reforms, and to develop citizen-oriented services.
OpenFisca made it possible to build, a social assistance simulation platform, thanks to which more than 100,000 simulations are carried out each month.
Today, OpenFisca is used by many actors - parliamentarians, public officials, researchers - to assess the impact of future reforms. For example, in 2018, a team from the working group "Access to rights and services, fight against non-recourse" used OpenFisca to simulate different scenarios for simplifying the calculation of social benefits and their impact on typical family situations.
OpenFisca uses the income tax calculator made available in 2016 by the DGFIP to perform some of these simulations.
OpenFisca illustrates the opportunities created by the openness and sharing of algorithms and source code of the administration.
It enables citizens and public decision-makers to understand, evaluate and improve public decisions in social and fiscal matters.
It also makes it possible to pool calculation models that coexist within multiple administrations, and a fortiori, to improve their quality and reduce their costs.
To further these actions in the area of social and fiscal transparency, the DINSIC commits to:
Encourage the opening of existing models, data and source codes in the socio-fiscal field, in order to accompany administrations in the evaluation of reforms. This work will
be carried out in consultation with the producing administrations (Budget Directorate, Treasury Directorate, Public Finance Directorate, social security bodies, etc.) and may include those involved in the drafting and monitoring of reforms (parliamentary assemblies, Court of Auditors, etc.);
Improve citizens' understanding of social and fiscal rules in order to stimulate the creation of services based on OpenFisca, as is the case of the platform. These services could be developed both by administrations and by civil society;
Develop collaborations with partner countries to support them in their initiatives to open up data and algorithms around socio-fiscal transparency and citizen participation in reforms.
In addition to these crosscutting actions, the following ministries have made commitments of their own:
Open various of its algorithms and source codes.
Take part in the composition of a guide to opening public source codes for use by administrations and focusing particularly on questions connected with best development and security practices.
Open the source code for the CLIP secure exploitation system (CLIP OS).


  1. Transparency of Public Services

    FR0030, 2018, E-Government

  2. Transparency of Public Procurement

    FR0031, 2018, E-Government

  3. Transparency of Development Aid

    FR0032, 2018, Aid

  4. Expand Open Data

    FR0033, 2018, E-Government

  5. Improved Data Policies and Administration

    FR0034, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Transparency of Public Algorithms

    FR0035, 2018, E-Government

  7. Open Data at Sub-National Level

    FR0036, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. State AI Lab

    FR0037, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Administrative Capacity-Building

    FR0038, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Public Service Incubators

    FR0039, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Streamline Data Flows

    FR0040, 2018, E-Government

  12. Open Etat Forum

    FR0041, 2018, E-Government

  13. Online Procedures Dashboard

    FR0042, 2018, E-Government

  14. Govtech Summit

    FR0043, 2018, Capacity Building

  15. Imrove Public Consultation Mechanisms

    FR0044, 2018, E-Government

  16. International Transparency and Citizen Participation

    FR0045, 2018, Aid

  17. Public Pariticipation in Sustainable Development

    FR0046, 2018, Capacity Building

  18. Open Science

    FR0047, 2018, E-Government

  19. Citizen Involvement in Cour Des Comptes

    FR0048, 2018, Capacity Building

  20. Private Sector Transparency

    FR0049, 2018, Asset Disclosure

  21. Access to Information on Public Officials

    FR0050, 2018, Asset Disclosure

  22. Open Regional and Local Authorities' Data

    FR0001, 2015, Fiscal Transparency

  23. Publish Municipal Council Decisions and Reports Online

    FR0002, 2015, E-Government

  24. Publish Building Permits in Open Data Format

    FR0003, 2015, Open Data

  25. Starred commitment Increase Transparency in Public Procurement

    FR0004, 2015, Open Contracting and Procurement

  26. Improve Transparency in International Development Aid

    FR0005, 2015, Aid

  27. Open Access to Public Policy Evaluations

    FR0006, 2015, E-Government

  28. Involve Citizens in Cour Des Comptes Work

    FR0007, 2015, Fiscal Transparency

  29. Access to Public Officials Transparency Obligations

    FR0008, 2015, E-Government

  30. Starred commitment Beneficial Ownership

    FR0009, 2015, Beneficial Ownership

  31. Transparency in Extractive Industries

    FR0010, 2015, Extractive Industries

  32. Transparency in International Trade Commercial Negotiations

    FR0011, 2015, Labor

  33. Fix My Neighborhood

    FR0012, 2015, E-Government

  34. Digital Fix-It

    FR0013, 2015, Open Data

  35. Co-Produce Data Infrastructure with Civil Society

    FR0014, 2015, Open Data

  36. Starred commitment Open Legal Resources

    FR0015, 2015, Legislation & Regulation

  37. Reform Participatory Mechanisms

    FR0016, 2015, Public Participation

  38. Mediation and Justice

    FR0017, 2015, Judiciary

  39. Starred commitment Open and Circulate Data

    FR0018, 2015, Land & Spatial Planning

  40. Open Calculation Models and Simulators

    FR0019, 2015, Open Data

  41. Open Platform for Government Resources

    FR0020, 2015, E-Government

  42. Improve Public Services Through E-Government and User Interaction

    FR0021, 2015, E-Government

  43. Empower Civil Society to Support Schools

    FR0022, 2015, E-Government

  44. Diversify Recruitment Within Public Institutions

    FR0023, 2015, Capacity Building

  45. Culture Change

    FR0024, 2015, Capacity Building

  46. Spread Public Innovation

    FR0025, 2015, Capacity Building

  47. Starred commitment Protect Against Conflicts of Interest

    FR0026, 2015, Conflicts of Interest

  48. Civil Society & Transparency in COP21 Conference Planning

    FR0027, 2015, Environment and Climate

  49. Open Data and Climate/Sustainable Development

    FR0028, 2015, Open Data

  50. Collaborate with Civil Society on Climate and Sustainable Development

    FR0029, 2015, Environment and Climate