We the publication of the third annual Open Cities Index results, there is a noticeable change in the attitude toward open data programs across local governments. No longer is open data simply a pet project of a single staff member seeking buy-in from his or her colleagues. For many local governments, open data is now a strategic priority, and project teams are being created to encourage cross-departmental participation. There remain, of course, those communities where limited capacity restricts the ability for staff to take on open data as a new challenge. For others, council or senior leadership may still be resistant to change, arguing that open data poses too great of a “risk” to justify the benefits of increased transparency and accountability.
With a more robust survey, capturing greater detail in all aspects of open data program maturity, we’re seeing movement across the Top 20 Most Open Cities for 2017. Municipalities of all sizes continue the push to publish more, high quality, diverse datasets. In 2016, an average of 79 datasets were published by our participating municipalities, rising to an average of 97 datasets per municipality in 2017.