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Romania

Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data (RO0027)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Romania, Second Action Plan, 2014-16

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

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 Areas

Open Data, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Romania End-of-Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation , Public Accountability , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

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

Commitment Text:

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

Commitment Aim:

 

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.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

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.

Carried forward?

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.  


Commitments

  1. Standardize Public Consultation Practices

    RO0048, 2018, E-Government

  2. Open Local Government

    RO0049, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Citizen Budgets

    RO0050, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Youth Participation

    RO0051, 2018, Capacity Building

  5. Register of Civil Society Proposals

    RO0052, 2018, E-Government

  6. Access to Information – Local

    RO0053, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Online Business Sector Information

    RO0054, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. Digital Consular Services

    RO0055, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Transparency in the Funding of Political Parties

    RO0056, 2018, E-Government

  10. National Investment Fund Transparency

    RO0057, 2018, E-Government

  11. Civil Servant Training

    RO0058, 2018, Capacity Building

  12. Raise Awareness About Corruption

    RO0059, 2018, Capacity Building

  13. Transparency of Seized Assets

    RO0060, 2018, E-Government

  14. Access to Social Services

    RO0061, 2018, E-Government

  15. Open Access to Research

    RO0062, 2018, E-Government

  16. Open Education

    RO0063, 2018, Capacity Building

  17. Evaluate Open Data

    RO0064, 2018, Capacity Building

  18. Open Data

    RO0065, 2018, E-Government

  19. Improving the Legal Framework and Practices Regarding Access to Public Interest Information

    RO0030, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Centralized Publishing of Public Interest Information on the Single Gateway Transparenta.Gov.Ro

    RO0031, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Promoting Open Parliament Principles

    RO0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. Starred commitment Improved Management of the Applications Submitted for Granting Citizenship

    RO0033, 2016, Capacity Building

  23. Standardization of Transparency Practices in the Decision-Making Procedures

    RO0034, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Centralised Publication of Legislative Projects on the Single Gateway Consultare.Gov.Ro

    RO0035, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Citizens Budgets

    RO0036, 2016, Capacity Building

  26. Improve Youth Consultation and Public Participation

    RO0037, 2016, Capacity Building

  27. Subnational Open Government

    RO0038, 2016, Capacity Building

  28. Promoting Transparency in the Decision-Making Process By Setting Up a Transparency Register (RUTI)

    RO0039, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  29. Access to Performance Indicators Monitored in the Implementation of the National Anticorruption Strategy (SNA)

    RO0040, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  30. Improve Transparency in the Management of Seized Assets

    RO0041, 2016, Asset Disclosure

  31. Annual Mandatory Training of Civil Servants on Integrity Matters

    RO0042, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  32. Improving Access to Cultural Heritage

    RO0043, 2016, Capacity Building

  33. Open Data and Transparency in Education

    RO0044, 2016, Capacity Building

  34. Virtual School Library and Open Educational Resources

    RO0045, 2016, Capacity Building

  35. Open Contracting

    RO0046, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  36. Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data

    RO0047, 2016, Capacity Building

  37. Publishing the Public Interest Information on a Single Government Portal: Transparenta.Gov.Ro

    RO0019, 2014, E-Government

  38. Making an Inventory of the Datasets Produced by the Ministries and Subordinate Agencies

    RO0020, 2014, Open Data

  39. Starred commitment Ensuring the Free Online Access to National Legislation

    RO0021, 2014, E-Government

  40. Amending Law 109/2007 on the Re-Use of Public Sector Information

    RO0022, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  41. Opening Data Collected from the National Health System

    RO0023, 2014, Health

  42. Opening Data Collected from the Monitoring of Preventive Measures as Part of the National Anticorruption Strategy 2012-2015

    RO0024, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  43. Open Contracting

    RO0025, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement

  44. Opening up Data Resulted from Publicly-Funded Research Projects

    RO0026, 2014, E-Government

  45. Increasing the Quality and Quantity of Published Open Data

    RO0027, 2014, Open Data

  46. Human Resource Training in the Field of Open Data

    RO0028, 2014, Capacity Building

  47. Disseminating Information on the OGP Principles and Promoting the Open Data Concept in an Accessible Manner

    RO0029, 2014, Records Management

  48. Designating a Person Responsible for Publishing Open Data in Each Public Institution

    RO0001, 2012, Open Data

  49. Identifying Regulatory Needs, Logistical and Technical Solutions

    RO0002, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  50. Making an Inventory of Available (High-Value) Data-Sets

    RO0003, 2012, Open Data

  51. Priority Publishing on the Web Pages of Public Institutions of Specific Data-Sets

    RO0004, 2012, Open Data

  52. Initiating Pilot-Projects, in Partnerships

    RO0005, 2012, Open Data

  53. Organizing Public Debates on the Utility of Open Data, in Partnerships

    RO0006, 2012, Open Data

  54. Uniform, Machine-Readable Publishing Format for Open Data

    RO0007, 2012, Open Data

  55. Procedures for Publication of Data-Sets Based on Civil Society Recommendations

    RO0008, 2012, Open Data

  56. Procedures for Citizen Complaints Pertaining to Open Data

    RO0009, 2012, Open Data

  57. Consultation Mechanism Between Suppliers and Beneficiaries of Open Data

    RO0010, 2012, Open Data

  58. Creating a Rating System for the Assessment of High-Value Data-Sets

    RO0011, 2012, Open Data

  59. Routinely Publishing Specific Data-Sets on Web Pages of Public Institutions

    RO0012, 2012, E-Government

  60. Integrating Open Data from Public Institutions in a Single National Platform

    RO0013, 2012, E-Government

  61. Inventories of Data, in Order to Facilitate Public Access

    RO0014, 2012, Open Data

  62. Institute a Monitoring Mechanism of Compliance for Open Data

    RO0015, 2012, Open Data

  63. Stimulating the Market for Innovative Use of Open Data

    RO0016, 2012, Open Data

  64. Routinely Publishing Data-Sets on the National Platform, 25% High-Value

    RO0017, 2012, Open Data

  65. 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