Should All Government Data Be Free?

By on 25/07/2014
Should data be free, at a click of the key? Photo: iStock

As a consequence of the G8 declaration of 2014, a number of agencies that collate data are developing systems that allow for greater corporate transparency.

The OECD has recently launched its website’s data collection in beta format. This early version allows the content to be researched interactively, allowing the user to create graphs and tables on a single online interface.

OECD Statistic Dissemination Project Manager Terri Mitton has described how the beta system ‘aims to make it easy to find, understand, compare and share OECD data in a way that democratizes access to statistical information so that citizens and policy makers can build better policies for better lives.’

In comparable moves, both Ireland’s Companies Registration Office (CRO) and Russia’s Company Register have begun to release their basic information at no cost, reserving payment solely for the access of specific documentation or financial details. Meanwhile, the UK’s Companies House website has released all of its information for free despite making a profit of almost £8.7 million during 2013/14.

It is hoped such advancements will lead to companies – and indeed other countries – sharpening their practises and increasing accountability or face public exposure. Additionally, it is hoped that the ease of access will inspire young entrepreneurs to interpret and innovate the data.

Story by Tom Lloyd

About Graham Scott

Graham is an experienced editor and publisher and an award-winning writer. He has travelled extensively and is interested in world cultures.

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