Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data (RO0027)
Action Plan: Romania, Second Action Plan, 2014-16
Action Plan Cycle: 2014
Lead Institution: Chancellery of the Prime-Minister
Support Institution(s): Public institutions (as listed in Annex 1) CSOs: Open Data Coalition; ActiveWatch; Funky Citizens
Policy AreasOpen Data, Records Management
In October 2013, the national gateway data.gov.ro was launched ahead of the planned 2014 deadline. The platform represents the central access point for open data collected from the public administration.
The Chancellery of the Prime-Minister will intensify its efforts to promote the importance of open data publishing, particularly within public administration.
This step is considered an essential factor in increasing the quantity of datasets published on the data.gov.ro portal and the number of institutions involved in the process.
Along with the increase in quantity, the public institutions should also focus on enhancing the quality of the datasets they deliver, aiming for better structure and machine-readable formats.
The improvements in the quality and number of published open datasets will be correlated with the actions promoting the open data concept and the innovative use of datasets, as stated in commitment 4. Disseminating information on the OGP principles and promoting the open data concept in an accessible manner.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
Commitment 9. Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data
1. Creation within the Department for Online Services and Design, Chancellery of the Prime- Minister, of a dedicated unit that will provide technical support for the data.gov.ro gateway.
2. Development, online publication and dissemination of Open Data Guidelines. The document will be subject to revisions and amendments so as to meet the needs of the stakeholders.
3. The government of Romania has already published datasets that fall under the 14 high value areas as designated by the G8 Open Data Charter, and will continue its efforts to update and improve the quality of these datasets.
4. The ministries will release 111 new datasets by publishing them on the data.gov.ro gateway.
5. The publication of the datasets requested by the civil society will be monitored. The list comprising these datasets is currently published on the ogp.gov.ro website and will be updated regularly following written requests submitted to the Department for Online Services and Design. The status of the publication will also be regularly updated. The institution in charge of a specific dataset will inform the Department on the projected publication timeline and/or any challenges encountered.
6. The mechanism required for the collection and storing of compulsory metadata as defined in DCAT-AP26 will be embedded in the national data.gov.ro portal.
7. A mechanism that will automatically assess the comprehensiveness of any published dataset will be embedded in the national data.gov.ro portal.
Responsible institution: Chancellery of the Prime Minister
Supporting institution(s): Public institutions, Open Data Coalition, ActiveWatch, Funky Citizens Association
Start date: July 2014 End date: June 2016
This is an overarching commitment focused on improving the Romanian open data portal. It is related to most of the commitments included in the national action plan. The commitment aims to open an increasing number of high-quality, priority datasets that are useful to citizens, government administration, and the business sector. Improving data quality and the number of open datasets published also correlates with the activities specified in Commitment 11 to promote innovative uses of datasets.
In order to complete the commitment, the government must reach a number of detailed and technical milestones: creating a technical support unit for the data platform, developing open data guidelines, releasing and publishing datasets on the platform, monitoring how institutions respond to civil society’s requests for datasets, adding a metadata mechanism to the open data portal, developing national vocabularies, harmonizing Romanian vocabularies with those of the EU, and implementing a user-feedback mechanism on the open data portal.
Completion was substantial at the midterm evaluation. The government put the gateway support system in place in 2014 and published more than 300 datasets on the portal, almost triple the amount envisioned in the milestones. To inform public institutions, the government completed open data guidelines on uploading datasets to the portal in March 2015,[Note 27: The guidelines are available at http://bit.ly/2hMwtHF. ] though it had not shared the guidelines widely yet. Additionally, officials improved the interoperability of datasets with various types of software and European Union portals. The Department for Online Services and Design (DSOD) adapted widgets that allowed data from different websites to be exported to the portal. CSOs and citizens frequently used the platform, which became the central access point for government open data.
More technical milestones also progressed. The government launched the mechanism for collecting and storing compulsory metadata for public testing.[Note 28: The catalogue is available at http://data.gov.ro/catalog.ttl. ] Additional developments included another mechanism for assessing the comprehensiveness of published datasets, a mechanism to assess and adapt digitization/upgrade programs in public institutions, and the national vocabularies. Finally, the mechanism to receive user feedback was also substantially completed. For more information, please see the 2014–2015 IRM midterm report.
End of term: Substantial
Most of the efforts since the midterm evaluation focused on three areas:
• Improving the functioning of the open data portal (for example, by updating the guidelines with best practices),
• Increasing the number of datasets uploaded by public administration institutions (by July 2016 more than 500 datasets were already uploaded to the portal), and
• Increasing the quality of the datasets (for example, communicating problems identified during hackathons).
The open data portal has continued attracting users, as indicated by the traffic statistics. Data for July–December 2016 show that, excepting December, the number of monthly unique visitors exceeded 15,000, the equivalent of 500 unique visitors per day.[Note 29: Statistics related to the content of the open data portal are available at http://data.gov.ro/stats#total-datasets. Statistics related to people accessing the open data portal are available at http://data.gov.ro/romania_theme/ga. ] It should be noted, there are some remaining issues with the quality of datasets published on the open data portal. CSO representatives note that although more datasets are available the focus is on quantity over quality. Participants in hackathons, who have first-hand experience using the datasets from the open data portal, echo this complaint: the quality of the data is uneven, and usable metadata is all but absent from the portal. Many of the technical milestones (the metadata catalogue, the national vocabularies, and the mechanism for assessing the comprehensiveness of published datasets) are still under development, and the government will most likely carry them forward to the next national action plan.
Did it open government?
Access to information: Major
Civic participation: Did not change
Public accountability: Minor
This commitment’s implementation created a major change in public access to information, a minor change in public accountability, and no significant change to civic participation.
Access to government information increased in a major way due to the variety and scope of the datasets published during 2014–2016. In many cases datasets contained information that was not public prior to the commitment period or that could be obtained only after prolonged exchanges with the data-holding institutions.[Note 30: Specific examples can give a better sense of how much things have changed with respect to the quality and quantity of open data. The National Statistics Institute, for instance, started offering free access to all its datasets in the summer of 2014. Before then, access was fee-based for regular citizens. An alternative example is the increase in the quality of data provided by the Electoral Authority: Several years ago election data were available only several weeks after the elections and only aggregated at the county level. Since then, election data are published online almost live during the elections, and they are offered aggregated at the voting section level. ] Moreover, NGOs are already using many of the datasets to inform their analyses or to develop infographics and applications.[Note 31: Examples of such uses include: http://www.factual.ro/; http://www.banipublici.ro/; or http://inovarepublica.fundatia.ro/category/guv-deschisa/.] This indicates that the data is useful to civil society and to the stakeholders more generally. In addition, data quality impacts real-world applications, and the institutions creating and publishing the data are able to receive feedback on data quality and usability.
In addition to measurable progress on this commitment, the IRM researcher considers that the commitment has changed the public administration’s institutional culture, improving practices that encourage transparency and openness. As of late 2016, most central public institutions had begun uploading datasets on the portal with continuous updates planned going forward.
In terms of public accountability, some activities, such as ethical hackathons, allowed citizens to hold officials accountable for providing quality data, representing a minor change in government practice.[Note 32: The hackathons and the GovITHub project are the most visible examples of increased civic participation through access to data from the online data portal. Here are some projects developed based on data published on the portal: https://termene.ro/analize_studii.php; https://baniitai.info/; or https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/romanian-railways/id1099755336?mt=8.] Continued accountability mechanisms will depend on users accessing the data and developing applications to monitor its quality and quantity to ensure the government is meeting its goals.
To improve and increase open access to information, the data portal’s structure could be improved to allow users to quickly identify and use datasets. The quality of the datasets is uneven, and most of the datasets do not have associated metadata explaining the content, definitions of terms used, or information about data measurements.
This commitment is carried forward in the third national action plan. In many ways, it provides the preparatory work for more specific data commitments in the future. The IRM researcher recommends devising standards for uploading data on the portal, including the format of the file, administrative variables (such as SIRUTA codes for localities or ISCO codes for occupations), and mandatory metadata to make the information more useable. In addition, requiring local- and municipal-level government institutions to publish local datasets could lead to a transformative change in access to information.
Standardize Public Consultation Practices
RO0048, 2018, E-Government
Open Local Government
RO0049, 2018, Capacity Building
RO0050, 2018, Capacity Building
RO0051, 2018, Capacity Building
Register of Civil Society Proposals
RO0052, 2018, E-Government
Access to Information – Local
RO0053, 2018, Capacity Building
Online Business Sector Information
RO0054, 2018, Capacity Building
Digital Consular Services
RO0055, 2018, Capacity Building
Transparency in the Funding of Political Parties
RO0056, 2018, E-Government
National Investment Fund Transparency
RO0057, 2018, E-Government
Civil Servant Training
RO0058, 2018, Capacity Building
Raise Awareness About Corruption
RO0059, 2018, Capacity Building
Transparency of Seized Assets
RO0060, 2018, E-Government
Access to Social Services
RO0061, 2018, E-Government
Open Access to Research
RO0062, 2018, E-Government
RO0063, 2018, Capacity Building
Evaluate Open Data
RO0064, 2018, Capacity Building
RO0065, 2018, E-Government
Improving the Legal Framework and Practices Regarding Access to Public Interest Information
RO0030, 2016, Capacity Building
Centralized Publishing of Public Interest Information on the Single Gateway Transparenta.Gov.Ro
RO0031, 2016, Capacity Building
Promoting Open Parliament Principles
RO0032, 2016, Capacity Building
Improved Management of the Applications Submitted for Granting Citizenship
RO0033, 2016, Capacity Building
Standardization of Transparency Practices in the Decision-Making Procedures
RO0034, 2016, Capacity Building
Centralised Publication of Legislative Projects on the Single Gateway Consultare.Gov.Ro
RO0035, 2016, Capacity Building
RO0036, 2016, Capacity Building
Improve Youth Consultation and Public Participation
RO0037, 2016, Capacity Building
Subnational Open Government
RO0038, 2016, Capacity Building
Promoting Transparency in the Decision-Making Process By Setting Up a Transparency Register (RUTI)
RO0039, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions
Access to Performance Indicators Monitored in the Implementation of the National Anticorruption Strategy (SNA)
RO0040, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions
Improve Transparency in the Management of Seized Assets
RO0041, 2016, Asset Disclosure
Annual Mandatory Training of Civil Servants on Integrity Matters
RO0042, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions
Improving Access to Cultural Heritage
RO0043, 2016, Capacity Building
Open Data and Transparency in Education
RO0044, 2016, Capacity Building
Virtual School Library and Open Educational Resources
RO0045, 2016, Capacity Building
RO0046, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions
Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data
RO0047, 2016, Capacity Building
Publishing the Public Interest Information on a Single Government Portal: Transparenta.Gov.Ro
RO0019, 2014, E-Government
Making an Inventory of the Datasets Produced by the Ministries and Subordinate Agencies
RO0020, 2014, Open Data
Ensuring the Free Online Access to National Legislation
RO0021, 2014, E-Government
Amending Law 109/2007 on the Re-Use of Public Sector Information
RO0022, 2014, Legislation & Regulation
Opening Data Collected from the National Health System
RO0023, 2014, Health
Opening Data Collected from the Monitoring of Preventive Measures as Part of the National Anticorruption Strategy 2012-2015
RO0024, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions
RO0025, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement
Opening up Data Resulted from Publicly-Funded Research Projects
RO0026, 2014, E-Government
Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data
RO0027, 2014, Open Data
Human Resource Training in the Field of Open Data
RO0028, 2014, Capacity Building
Disseminating Information on the OGP Principles and Promoting the Open Data Concept in an Accessible Manner
RO0029, 2014, Records Management
Designating a Person Responsible for Publishing Open Data in Each Public Institution
RO0001, 2012, Open Data
Identifying Regulatory Needs, Logistical and Technical Solutions
RO0002, 2012, Legislation & Regulation
Making an Inventory of Available (High-Value) Data-Sets
RO0003, 2012, Open Data
Priority Publishing on the Web Pages of Public Institutions of Specific Data-Sets
RO0004, 2012, Open Data
Initiating Pilot-Projects, in Partnerships
RO0005, 2012, Open Data
Organizing Public Debates on the Utility of Open Data, in Partnerships
RO0006, 2012, Open Data
Uniform, Machine-Readable Publishing Format for Open Data
RO0007, 2012, Open Data
Procedures for Publication of Data-Sets Based on Civil Society Recommendations
RO0008, 2012, Open Data
Procedures for Citizen Complaints Pertaining to Open Data
RO0009, 2012, Open Data
Consultation Mechanism Between Suppliers and Beneficiaries of Open Data
RO0010, 2012, Open Data
Creating a Rating System for the Assessment of High-Value Data-Sets
RO0011, 2012, Open Data
Routinely Publishing Specific Data-Sets on Web Pages of Public Institutions
RO0012, 2012, E-Government
Integrating Open Data from Public Institutions in a Single National Platform
RO0013, 2012, E-Government
Inventories of Data, in Order to Facilitate Public Access
RO0014, 2012, Open Data
Institute a Monitoring Mechanism of Compliance for Open Data
RO0015, 2012, Open Data
Stimulating the Market for Innovative Use of Open Data
RO0016, 2012, Open Data
Routinely Publishing Data-Sets on the National Platform, 25% High-Value
RO0017, 2012, Open Data
The Public Procurement Electronic System (SEAP). the Electronic Allocation System for Transports (SAET)/B.1 C) Expanding the On-Line Submission of Fiscal Forms. Ensuring the Free On-Line Access to National Legislation. Developing Electronic Tools to Manage Subpoenas and Facilitate Access Toinformation Regarding Legal Proceedings. Developing Electronic Tools to Manage the Procedures Related to Obtaining the Romanian Citizenship. Developing Electronic Tools to Manage the Procedures Related to the Creation of Non-Profit Legal Persons. the Integrated System for Electronic Access to Justice (SIIAEJ)
RO0018, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration