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The Closed World of Company Data Does Not Bode Well for Transparency

OpenCorporates published recently a report examining of how open company data is in Open Government Partnership countries.   The findings of the report portray a rather poor picture.  In a nutshell the report stated that Open Government Partnership countries score badly for open access to company data.   This does not bode well for transparency.

The report lists charts with company comparisons.  Here are some summary points:

  • ‘Increasing Corporate Accountability’ is one of the Open Government Partnership’s Grand Challenges.
  • Accountability requires access to information, and in a complex corporate world that means access to it as machine-readable data, with a license to reuse, remix, combine with other data
  • The information on companies is collected for a statutory purpose, as companies are by definition artificial entities that have been created by the state for the wider benefit of society, but is often restricted to only those who have the funds to buy the data, usually companies using it to enhance proprietary datasets, thus doubly undermining access.
  • OGP countries score badly for open access to company data, with an overall average of 21 (out of a possible 100 points), with several important countries (Spain, Italy, Greece, Brazil) scoring 0 points

Governments, regulators, credit grantors and the general public are all calling for ‘Increasing Corporate Accountability’.  Nevertheless accountability is not possible without access to information, and, in this world where increasingly power comes from the the ability to analyze, reuse and combine large datasets with other large datasets, that means access to the information as data in a machine readable form under an open license that allows reuse.

Yet despite this, this survey and analysis of access to core company data in the Open Government Partnership countries shows that almost without exception they perform badly when scored on access to core company data. In addition, anecdotally few OGP countries seem to include increasing corporate transparency in their country plans/commitments for future action.

OpenCorporates is owned by Chrinon Ltd.  a company formed in the UK in 2010 and is dedicated to improving and publishing public data under an open license that allows and encourages reuse, including commercially.

To access the full report click on the link below.

Source: Opencorporates.com

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