The UK has been named the number one country to use open data for social and economic benefit, followed by the US, Sweden, New Zealand and France.
In a report, backed by Tim Berners-Lee, the UK was name the top country for sharing government data, but the Open Data Barometer report discovered that only 13% of the 86 countries surveyed publish open data on government budgets.
Additionally, less than 8% of countries surveyed publish datasets in open formats and under open licences on government budgets and spending, public sector contracts and who owns or controls companies.
Berners-Lee said opening raw government data to everyone, free of charge, is a great way to put power in the hands of citizens.
“Yet, this research indicates that governments continue to shy away from publishing the very data that can be used to enhance accountability and trust,” he added.
“The G7 and G20 blazed a trail when they recognised open data as a crucial tool to strengthen transparency and fight corruption. Now they need to keep their promises to make critical areas like government spending and contracts open by default. The unfair practice of charging citizens to access public information collected with their tax resources must cease.”
Meanwhile, 7% of countries release open data on performance of health services, while only 12% share open figures on education.
The report pointed out that G7 countries are not leading the way in sharing data, despite singing the Open Data Charter in 2013. Only the UK has an open company register, while half of the G7 nations are not publishing the key datasets promised in 2013.
José Alonso, open data programme manager at the World Wide Web Foundation, said: “The Open Data Barometer reveals some powerful common success factors across open data initiatives – high-level political commitment and sustained resources for building the capacity of data users both inside and outside government.
“Many developing countries have the political will but not the resources or capacity to succeed. The G7 and G20, as well as stakeholders like multilateral organisations, need to increase aid and lending for well-rounded open data initiatives to ensure that the “data revolution” doesn’t leave developing countries behind.”