Skip Navigation
Slovak Republic

Survey About Open Data (SK0065)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Slovak Republic National Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Plenipotentiary of the Government for the Development of Civil Society

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, E-Government, Open Data, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Slovakia Implementation Report 2017-2019, Slovak Republic Design Report 2017–2019

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Survey of the most requested datasets has become a useful tool to engage stakeholders in the process of selecting the datasets to be published at the Open Data Portal. This survey enables optimal allocation of technical and human resources necessary for the priority publication of the most requested datasets. The Office of the Plenipotentiary of the Government for the Development of the Civil Society aims to carry out surveys of demand for the most requested datasets regularly once a year. Based on the results of these surveys it will be necessary to initiate an active dialogue between central government bodies and the civil society in order to seek the optimal form, structure and scope of the published datasets.
Commitment No. 8: Conduct a survey of public demand for the most requested open data datasets.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

THEME - Update, publish and promote datasets
Comm 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan[Note : The Office of the Plenipotentiary, “Open Government Partnership National Action Plan of the Slovak Republic 2017 – 2019”, http://bit.ly/2QYIlHV ]:

Commitment 5: “Update and publish at the Open Data Portal the lists of all datasets of the ministries, organizations established by them, as well as other central government bodies, along with the plan of their publication at the Open Data Portal, including frequency of updates”.

Commitment 6: “Publish datasets in accordance with the plan of publication and updating at the Open Data Portal, based on the updated list of datasets in the sphere of influence of ministries and organizations established by them, as well as other central government authorities”.

Commitment 7: “Carry out a public campaign to promote the use of datasets published at the Open Data Portal and to support the development of innovation”.

Commitment 8: “Conduct a survey of public demand for the most requested open data datasets”.

Commitment 9: “Based on the results of the survey of public demand for the most requested datasets, publish the most requested datasets at the Open Data Portal in accordance with applicable legislation”.

Start Date: Not specified   

End Date: Ongoing

      

 

Context and Objectives

This cluster of commitments (5 - 9) builds on the previous commitments in the field. The commitments to publish datasets in the disposal of agencies and most demanded datasets were also present in the last action plan[Note : The Office of the Plenipotentiary, “Open Government Partnership National Action Plan of the Slovak Republic 2015”, http://bit.ly/2RevqCc ]. The previous IRM report[Note : Mária Žuffová, “Slovakia Special Accountability Report 2014 - 2015”, http://bit.ly/2EzH4Ws  ] concluded that many of those commitments had limited completion. In particular, the results of different agencies were uneven. Therefore, it is positive that these commitments were carried forward to the current action plan.

Commitment 5 to update and publish a list of available datasets is a crucial first step, as for agencies to be able to publish the datasets in a systematic way they first need to audit what data they collect or create. By making the list of datasets available, the public will know what data they can demand to be published as open data.      

Commitments 6 and 9 to publish datasets also have a potential impact on improving access to government data. However, the extent of it depends on the quality of published data and its relevance for its users. An investigative journalist who previously worked for Transparency International Slovakia (TI Slovakia) mentioned that although there have been several advancements in the publication of open data, some of them are not directly attributable to OGP and still a lot of useful data is not available[Note : The National Council of the Slovak Republic, “Zoznam verejných funkcionárov” (The list of public officers), http://bit.ly/2An0t7y (in Slovak). ]. For instance, he mentioned open API for the data on EU funds (ITMS+) as a good practice example. He also welcomed that the Agricultural Paying Agency opened some datasets up[Note : Interview with Martin Turček (Aktuality.sk), 15 October 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details.   ]. Commitments 6 and 9 could have a moderate potential impact if key datasets were published, for instance, cadaster’s data or property declarations of public officials among others.     

Another CSO representative stated that the data she needs for her research work, for example, data on municipal companies, the number of public servants is unavailable on Data.gov.sk. She assumes this is a result of an unsystematic data collection[Note : Interview with Veronika Prachárová (Slovak Governance Institute), 16 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details.   ]. Another problem she mentioned is that data is not linked, providing the website http://www.majetokstatu.sk, which gathers data on real estates owned by the state as an example. The data from the website is not available on Data.gov.sk. She also noted that the search function on Data.gov.sk does not work well, and concluded that all this summed up, she is often left with FOIA as the only resource. In this view, the commitments to continue and improve open data publication are essential.

Commitment 7 to promote datasets could have a moderate potential impact if key datasets are published. Given the criticism of limited opportunities for public engagement with data in the previous report[Note : Mária Žuffová, “Slovakia Special Accountability Report 2014 - 2015”, http://bit.ly/2EzH4Ws  ], it is a sensible and useful call to action. Also, several representatives of ministries and other central government agencies, as well as CSO representatives agreed that greater awareness raising about the data[Note : Interview with a representative of central government agency who wishes to remain anonymous, 5 November 2018. Interview with a ministry representative 1 who wishes to remain anonymous, 6 November 2018. Interview with Lukáš Jankovič (Ministry of Transport and Construction), 6 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details.    ] and best practice examples are necessary[Note : Transparency International, „Open data to fight corruption. Case study: Slovakia’s health sector”, http://bit.ly/2r6nIPe ].

Commitment 8 to survey public demand for the datasets is also an on-going commitment, which was featured in the previous action plan[Note : The Office of the Plenipotentiary, “Open Government Partnership National Action Plan of the Slovak Republic 2015”, http://bit.ly/2RevqCc]. Also, the previous IRM report suggested[Note : Mária Žuffová, “Slovakia Special Accountability Report 2014 - 2015”, http://bit.ly/2EzH4Ws ] that surveys should be repeated in regular periods. All interviewees agreed that it is a useful measure, but some had reservations, mainly about the sample size and its representativeness[Note : Interview with a ministry representative 1 who wishes to remain anonymous, 6 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details.   ].

Next steps

While all these commitments are important, and their implementation should be continued, interviewees had several other useful proposals that might advance access to government information and data.

  • Publish Data.gov.sk traffic statistics and analytics to document demand

While several representatives of ministries and public agencies found the survey realized by the Office of the Plenipotentiary useful, they agreed that in addition to that, the National Agency for Network and Electronic Services (NASES) should provide them with Data.gov.sk traffic statistics and analytics on a regular basis. They were particularly interested in a number of visitors for the datasets they publish[Note : Interview with a representative of central government agency who wishes to remain anonymous, 5 November 2018. Interview with a ministry representative 1 who wishes to remain anonymous, 6 November 2018. Interview with Lukáš Jankovič, (Ministry of Transport and Construction), 6 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details.    ]. Free services, such as Google Analytics might be used for this. A representative of a central government agency argued that knowing the demand “is an absolute prerequisite for data publication”. He posited that “it is useless to publish data in which nobody is interested”[Note : Interview with a representative of central government agency who wishes to remain anonymous, 5 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details.   ]. The provision of Data.gov.sk traffic statistics and analytics should not be a problem, as NASES has also identified this data as a key determinant of implementing the Strategy and action plan for open government data publication and use[Note : National Agency for Network and Electronic Services, “Otvorené údaje vo verejnej správe: Školenie pre zamestnancov verejnej správy, ktorých zamestnávateľ poveril zverejňovať otvorené data” (Open data in public administration: Training for public servants who are responsible for open data publication), http://bit.ly/2DVgea3 (Presentation in Slovak delivered on 15 December 2017). ].

  • Continue efforts in open data publication

All interviewees agreed that the on-going efforts to publish open data are important. One CSO representative argued that if public agencies publish their information pro-actively, they will be able to respond to FOI requests more easily and efficiently as they will only have to refer to information that has already been made available[Note : Interview with Marcel Zajac (Centre for Philanthropy), 5 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details.   ]. Many argue that although there have been improvements, more key datasets need to be published. An investigative journalist who previously worked for TI Slovakia added that for his reporting he would welcome the publication of property declarations of public officials as defined by law, in particular, those of MPs, and structured notes to financial statements[Note : The National Council of the Slovak Republic, “Zoznam verejných funkcionárov” (The list of public officers), http://bit.ly/2An0t7y (in Slovak). ]. For instance, cadaster’s data that has been in high demand is still not available as open data. Interviewees also mentioned that the work of “Better data” working group needs to be resumed to advance systematic publication of open data.   

  • Resume works on FOIA amendment

Interviewees mentioned several deficiencies of datasets that are currently available at the national open data portal Data.gov.sk. Although they believe that the efforts in open data publication should be preserved and continued, they would also welcome if OGP in Slovakia would focus more on FOI as a crucial tool for accessing government information. Some interviewees suggested that they have to entirely rely on FOI when the data they need is not available. Therefore, good application of FOIA is needed as much as open data publication. They argued that at the moment FOIA is often interpreted to the detriment of the requester[Note : Interview with Martin Turček (Aktuality.sk), 15 October 2018. Interview with Veronika Prachárová (Slovak Governance Institute), 16 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details.   ]. Several CSOs and investigative journalists have a negative experience in accessing government information[Note : Transparency International Slovakia, “Prečo nemáme právo vidieť, ako so štátnym letiskom podniká Ryanair?” (Why we do not have a right to know how Ryanair does business with the state airport?), http://bit.ly/2Qjiw8K (in Slovak). ]. They noted that the FOIA amendment that had been prepared in a participative manner two years ago should be taken forward.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

For details on each commitment, see Slovakia Implementation Report 2017-2019.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership