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Openbudgets.eu: the new platform for financial transparency in Europe

- September 7, 2017 in open budget, open budget data, open budgets, Open Fiscal Data, Open Spending

Today, OpenBudgets officially launches its fiscal transparency platform. Using
OpenBudgets.eu journalists, civil servants, and data scientists can process, analyse, and explore the nature and relevance of fiscal data.
The platform offers a toolbox to everyone who wants to upload, visualise and analyse fiscal data. From easy to use visualisations and high level analytics to fun games and accessible explanations of public budgeting and corruption practices along with
participatory budgeting tools, it caters to the needs of journalists, activists, policy makers and civil servants alike. The first successful implementations and projects have been developed in Thessaloniki, Paris, and Bonn, where civil society organisations and civil servants have together built budget visualisation for the general public.The cooperation between IT and administration resulted in 3 local instances of OpenBudgets.eu, setting the example for future implementations around Europe. On the EU level, the project has campaigned for transparency in MEP expenses and better quality data on the European subsidies. The OpenBudgets.eu project
subsidystories has uncovered how almost 300 billion in EU subsidies is spent. The MEP expenses campaign has led to the President of the European Parliament committing to introduce concrete proposals for reform of the MEPs’ allowance scheme by the end of the year. Finally, the project has created tailor-made tools for journalists as our research has shown that there was a lack of contextual knowledge and knowledge on the basics of accounting. ‘Cooking budgets’presents the basics of accounting in a satirical website, and the successful game ‘The good, the bad and the accountant’ simulates the struggle of a civil servant to retain its integrity. The three approaches and audiences to public budgeting have resulted in a holistic platform which tailors to the wider public who wants to have more insights in their local, regional, national and even EU budgets. With the launch of OpenBudgets.eu the field of financial transparency in Europe is enriched by new tools, data, games and research for journalists, civil society organisations and civil servants alike, resulting in a valuable resource for a broad target audience. OpenBudgets.eu has received funding from the European Union’s H2020 EU research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 645833 and is implemented by an international consortium of nine partners (including Open Knowledge International and Open Knowledge Foundation Germany) under the coordination of Fraunhofer IAIS.

New research project to map the impact of open budget data

- March 4, 2015 in Featured, financial transparency, Follow the Money, open budget data, open budgets, Open Data, Open Spending, Policy, research

I’m pleased to announce a new research project to examine the impact of open budget data, undertaken as a collaboration between Open Knowledge and the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam, supported by the Global Initiative for Financial Transparency (GIFT). The project will include an empirical mapping of who is active around open budget data around the world, and what the main issues, opportunities and challenges are according to different actors. Drawing on this mapping it will provide a review of the various definitions and conceptions of open budget data, arguments for why it matters, best practises for publication and engagement, as well as applications and outcomes in different countries around the world. As well as drawing on Open Knowledge’s extensive experience and expertise around open budget data (through projects such as Open Spending), it will utilise innovative tools and methods developed at the University of Amsterdam to harness evidence from the web, social media and collections of documents to inform and enrich our analysis. As part of this project we’re launching a collaborative bibliography of existing research and literature on open budget data and associated topics which we hope will become a useful resource for other organisations, advocates, policy-makers, and researchers working in this area. If you have suggestions for items to add, please do get in touch. This project follows on from other research projects we’ve conducted around this area – including on data standards for fiscal transparency, on technology for transparent and accountable public finance, and on mapping the open spending community.
Financial transparency field network with the Issuecrawler tool based on hyperlink analysis starting from members of Financial Transparency Coalition, 12th January 2015. Open Knowledge and Digital Methods Initiative.

Financial transparency field network with the Issuecrawler tool based on hyperlink analysis starting from members of Financial Transparency Coalition, 12th January 2015. Open Knowledge and Digital Methods Initiative.