As more local municipalities join the open data movement, the Center for Data Innovation, a think tank, has assessed which state governments are actually measuring up with the best policies.
A new report ranks states based on progress with open data policies and digital accessibility to data portals. Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Utah are the top six states, respectively, in making strides with the open data movement.
The report also finds that 10 states currently maintain open data policies, and all but one offer an open-data portal. (New Hampshire being the exception as the only state with an open-data policy that doesn’t offer complete datasets.) Over the last two years, five states have created new policies while four have amended existing ones. Overall, 24 states offer some form of an open data portal, including some without policies in place.
The rankings were determined based on four categories including the presence of an open-data policy, the quality of the policy, the presence of a open-data portal and the quality of that portal, according to Government Executive.
The report also explores common elements among those states with the most successful open data campaigns, including data being open by default — which includes public, expenditure and legislative records — as well as being released in a non-proprietary format or a machine readable format. A universal format is important in order for nonprofits, businesses and other users to process and translate the datasets. For example, if a state releases data in a PDF or DOC, it may not be considered effective because the format is not machine-readable.
While some states have polices on government transparency, the report points out that often that translates to publishing data on only a few topics, which is a good starting point, but not comprehensive enough.
“While a general transparency portal is a good start, open data portals can help increase transparency and accountability by opening up all government data, non just certain types of records,” the report says.