البيانات الحكومية المفتوحة: النفط الجديد

شارك المئات حتى لحظة كتابة هذا المقال في استبيان رأي مازال منشوراً  على بوابة حكومة الإمارات  ويهدف إلى استقراء آراء زوار البوابة حول أفضل السبل لتطويرها وتلبية الاحتياجات والتوقعات المتزايدة لجمهور الخدمات الإلكترونية الحكومية في الدولة.

image via govfresh.com

وقد نشرت حكومة الإمارات الإلكترونية قبل أيام تحليلاً أولياً لعينة من مشاركات الجمهور. ويشير التحليل إلى أن قسماً كبيراً من المشاركين أكد على “ضرورة تعزيز البيانات الحكومية على المواقع الإلكترونية للجهات الحكومية “. أجد في هذا الاستطلاع مناسبة للبدء في كتابة سلسلة مقالات للتعريف بمفهوم  البيانات الحكومية المفتوحة (Open Government Data)، استهلها بهذا المقال الذي يقدم تعريفاً أساسياً بالمفهوم ومدى انتشار تبنيه حول العالم.

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Forthcoming Soon: United Nations e-Government Survey 2012

Forthcoming Soon: United Nations e-Government Survey 2012

The 2012 version of the United Nations (UN) eGovernment Survey series is about to go out in the coming few days. Over the past few years, this report has gained a growing reputation as the most comprehensive reference for the state of eGovernment programs around the globe.For the UN, the report is a an important tool to promote eGovernment as an enabler for public sector advancement and to the global move towards achieving (or getting closer to) the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). In addition to its assessment of the current status of the eGovernment in each of the covered countries (192 UN member states in 2010), the report offers a review of the rising eGovernment trends and features some of the most important issues and success stories from around the world. The key theme of the 2010 edition was ” Leveraging e-government at a time of financial and economic crisis”.

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From Cloud Computing 2011 to Open Data 2012: Research in Progress

My research activities for 2011 are just wrapping up in an exciting way,  I’ve just published a paper on cloud computing and started working on another one on Open Government Data.

The first one covers the shift towards cloud computing by UAE eGovernment, it describes the local context in which this shift is being made and the driving opportunities. In addition, it presents the first wave of deployed cloud services, the possible challenges in managing and marketing them and conclude with recommended solutions.

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The GCC eGovernment Award: The Winners List

In a festive ceremony in Kuwait this week at inauguration of the GCC eGovernment Conference, the results of the 2nd GCC eGovernment Award were announced. The six GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman , Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE ) had nominated more than 85 applications to the award’s six categories. UAE and Oman have won all the 6 awards (3 for each). Here are the full winners list:

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GCC eGovernment Award: Towards a Platform for Collaboration

I’m writing this post from Dubai Airport while waiting for my flight to Kuwait to join the jury sessions of the 2nd GCC eGovernment Award.  The award aims at recognizing the best eGovernment practices in the six Gulf Cooperation Coucnil (GCC) countries: Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Each country has already nominated a list of these practices for the competition and UAE has picked 15 nominations.

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GCC States Take a First Step Towards Open Data

The wave of open data has finally reached the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries where three out of the six countries have launched dedicated open data portals at the national level.

While United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia (SA) dedicated a section for open data within their national portals (http://www.government.ae/web/guest/uae-data and http://bit.ly/jTye5X) respectively, Bahrain has chosen to launch an independent Open Data Platform (http://www.bahrain.bh/wps/portal/data/).

Since I had the privilege of contributing to the initiation of the initiative in the UAE and after spending a quite good time in exploring Bahrain and SA portals, I would like to share with you my findings and comments on the status of open data initiatives in these three countries in light of their national portals.

Starting with the justification of launching these portals, both UAE and Bahrain consider open data an important tool to promote transparency and encourage the public to “eParticipate” and interact with the government. SA portal doesn’t highlight the reason of launching their open data section but we can safely assume the same reason of UAE and Bahrain when looking at other parts of the portal especially the one dedicated to eParticipation. However, we shouldn’t overlook the importance GCC countries give to their rankings in United Nation eGovernment Index and how they work to apply the UN recommended standards on their portals, having an open data section at the national portal is among these standards. (check here and here).

Digging down in the three portals, we can find a pretty long list of open data sets gathered from different government agencies and complied in a central database. UAE and Bahrain portals offer a convenient presentation of the data sets and helpful search tool to search for a specific set while you need to browse through the lists in the case of SA. Although MS. Excel is the primary format in which the data is offered in the three portals, we can come across some PDF files in the case of UAE and Bahrain.

One important piece of data that I couldn’t find in any of the three portals is the government budget! SA portal offers a broken link, Bahrain offers a brief of “estimated” budget for previous years while UAE offers budget of the Ministry of Health only.

But regardless of how the data offered on the portals are comprehensive and accurate, and regardless of the fact that the UN e-Government Index is a key incentive for launching these portals, I highly salute this step and considering it an important milestone in the e-Government journey GCC countries started more than a decade back. The shortcomings I highlighted above (especially the lack of budget data) could help us understand the organizational and cultural challenges needed to tackled to push for an open government which is a common case in many countries including the Open Government initiative in the United Sates.
In addition, linking these initiatives more tightly to the higher national agenda and the citizens needs will help in making them sustainable. It’s comforting to see Mr. Salem Al Shair – Director General of UAE eGovernment assuring his vision and long term commitment to the open data initiative by saying :“We will continue to strive to achieve a strong and sustainable eGovernment in an endeavour to create information society and knowledge-based economy under the able guidance of our visionary leaders