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Supply and demand of


open data in Mexico:
A diagnostic report on
the governments new
open data portal.

SEPTEMBER 2015
JUAN ORTIZ FREULER

_
Supply and demand of
open data in Mexico:
A diagnostic report on
the governments new
open data portal.

SEPTEMBER 2015
JUAN ORTIZ FREULER
DISPONIBLE EN CASTELLANO
http://bit.ly/datamxEsp1

Abstract
Following a promising and already well established trend, in February
2014 the Office of the President of Mexico launched its open data
portal (datos.gob.mx). This diagnostic carried out between july
and september of 2015- is designed to brief international donors and
stakeholders such as members of the Open Government Partnership
Steering Committee, provides the reader with contextual information
to understand the state of supply and demand for open data from the
portal, and the specific challenges the mexican government is facing
in its quest to implement the policy.
The insights offered through data processing and interviews with
key stakeholders indicate the need to promote: i) A sense of
ownership of datos.gob.mx by the user community, but particularly
by the officials in charge of implementing the policy within each
government unit; ii) The development of tools and mechanisms to
increase the quality of the data provided through the portal; and iii)
Civic hacking of the portal to promote innovation, and a sense of
appropriation that would increase the policys long-term resilience
to partisan and leadership change.

Citation
Author: Juan Ortiz Freuler (@juanof9)
Design: Gastn Grillo (gasgrillo@gmail.com)
Please cite this report as:
Ortiz Freuler, Juan. Supply and demand of open data in Mexico:
A diagnostic report on the governments new open data portal. 2015.
http://bit.ly/DataMXEngReport
License: CC
Acknowledgements
Many thanks to the two dozen anonymous interviewees who kindly
donated their time to make this report possible, as well as those who
will contribute through their comments to the open version. To Juan
Manuel Casanueva, Sergio Araiza, Indira Cornelio, Mariel Garca,
Haydee Quijano, and the NGO Social Tic for their feedback,
contacts and guidance. Carolina Cornejo and Silvana Fumega for
their comments. The support of Chevening Scholarships, the UK
governments global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign
and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organizations.
Research for this report was supported in part by the Open Society
Internship for Rights and Governance, which is funded and
administered by the Open Society Institute (OSI). The opinions
expressed herein are the authors own and do not necessarily express
the views of OSI.

_index
01

Preliminary note

Introduction

The Mexican context


i) Access to the Internet
ii) Legal framework, and political commitment towards
the policy
iii) Supply and demand of open government data: an
overview

8
9
10

02

Supply of open data through data.gob.mx

16

Definition
Introduction
Overview of data supply through datos.gob.mx
State of supply of key datasets for Mexicos development
Availability
Quality
Conclusion and key recommendations

16
16
19
20
21
23
25

03

Demand for data

27

Definition
Introduction: Access to information petitions as a proxy
Demand of data through datos.gob.mx
Stats of visits to portal
Insights from Interviews
Conclusion and recommendations to increase data
demand

27
27
29
29
31
31

04

General conclusion and recommendations

34

05

Next Steps

37

Bibliography

38

a) Need to develop a plural and sustainable ecosystem


b) Need to create mechanisms to increase data quality
c) Importance of fostering civic hacking of the portal

14

34
35
36

Pr

_
Links
Document open to comments
http://bit.ly/datamxEngComm
Document in PDF
http://bit.ly/DataMXEngReport
Tables in open format
http://bit.ly/dataMXEng1
Spanish Document
http://bit.ly/datamxEsp

Preliminary note
This document is an adapted version of the document in Spanish
Oferta y Demanda de datos abiertos en Mxico: Un diagnstico sobre
el portal pblico mexicano, a more extensive diagnostic carried out
between July and August of 2015 by Juan Ortiz Freuler for Social
Tic, a Mexican Civil Society Organization.
Whilst the Spanish version includes sections relevant for the
needs and interests of local stakeholders, this document has the
objective of informing international stakeholders within the Open
Government Partnership, donors, and public officials who are
implementing open data portals in other countries, about the state
in which the Mexican Open Data portal (datos.gob.mx) currently
stands, the characteristics of the communities that surround it. The
document also includes a set of recommendations that could help
tackle a series of challenges the policy is currently facing.
With the objective of providing an inclusive document, steps have
been taken to avoid technical terms, and a glossary is made available
for those cases in which a technicality was deemed necessary.1
Aligned with the deliberative spirit fostered by the document,
the document has been produced following the standard of Open
Research: all the tables generated for the research are available for
reutilization in open format2, and both the tables and the document
are available online in formats open to comments.

Open Government Guide. Glossary. Accessed September 3, 2015. http://www.opengovguide.


com/glossary/
2
Tables in Spanish were first made available to the public in a format open to comments through
Twitter on the 11/8/2015 (https://twitter.com/juanof9). On the 19/8/2015 they were sent by
email to 20 data users for feedback. A week later they were sent by email to public servants.
1

01

_
Introduction

Throughout the past decades technological progress has led to an


explosion in the capacity of governments, private companies and
individuals to generate, structure, and process information. This
phenomenon, together with the dynamization of communications
caused by ever-growing access to the Internet, is modifying the
relationship between individuals, and between individuals and the State.

_
Open Data
Definition

Public and free


Accessible through the Internet
In open formats, and machinereadable

In this context, international and national movements for


Open Data3 discuss strategies on how to increase the amount of
information Governments release.
Though the open data movement promotes the release of
information in open formats by every sector, this document focuses
on datos.gob.mx, a platform promoted by the Mexican Executive
for the release of data from the public administration under its
control. It will not analyse the state of data held by the Legislative
or Judicial Branches, or similar subnational initiatives. Therefore,
this document focuses on a subset within the intersection of the
three concepts represented in figure 1, below.

With licences that allow any


use, reuse, reutilization, and
redistribution by any person.

Open

This Diagnostic

Timely

Data

Source: Developed by the author based on the


Governments Guide ( footnote below).

Goverment

Fig. 1 Source: Elaborated by the author.


Open Data Definition: See points I to VIII of the Guide for the Implementation of the Open
Data Policy: Unidad de Gobierno Digital de la Secretara de la Funcin Pblica, Gua de
Implementacin de la Poltica de Datos Abiertos, by Yolanda Martinez Mancilla, Diario Official
de la Federacin (Distrito Federal, Mexico, 18/6/2015). http://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.
php?codigo=5397117&fecha=18/06/2015 (accessed 20/7/2015)
3

The Mexican
Situation
Before presenting the analysis, it is necessary to place this policy
within the wider context of Mexico, particularly in relation to
two aspects: i) Access to the Internet; and ii) the legal framework
on which the policy rests, and the level of political commitment
of the current administration towards it. Lastly, I will provide a
sketch of what the intersection between supply and demand could
look like.

_
Access to the Internet

Since the open data policy consists in making government


information available through an Internet portal, the amount of
people that at least formally- have the possibility of accessing the
data is a key factor to contextualize the policy.
In Mexico around 45% of the population has access to the
Internet.

Mexico
Latin America
and Caribean
(all income ranges)

World

Users per 100 inhabitants

Internet Users (per 100 inhabitants)


50
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
05
0
1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

Year

Graph 1. Note: Users are people with access to the World Wide Web.
Source: Elaborated by the author using data published by the World Bank 4
Available in open format from http://bit.ly/dataMXEng1 - Data downloaded from the World
Bank Databank, available at http://bit.ly/1OiCxl0 (accessed 20/7/2015).
4

A series of key facts published by the National Institute for


Statistics and Geography (INEGI)5 provide further insights:

67,4%

of people with access to the Internet utilizes it as a tool


to find information, which suggests the people already
relate the Internet to the function datos.gob.mx aims to
satisfy through the same medium.

67,2%
of households with a computer but no access to the
Internet reported lack of economic resources as the
main reason for their lack of access.6
Though in States such as Quertaro, Nuevo Len, and
Federal District the percentage of Internet users is
around 60%, in Chiapas it barely reaches 20%, and
in States such as Oaxaca, Guerrero and Veracruz
it is around 30%. Analysing budget allocations for
connectivity becomes particularly relevant to tackle this
issue.
The inequality in effective access and use of the Internet requires
urgent attention. Government entities are increasingly opening
channels to facilitate service provision, the exercise of rights, and
the channelling of complaints. Reducing the costs of participation
is definitely the path to follow. Nevertheless, in the context
of deep inequalities in access and effective use of the Internet,
this could lead to stigmatizing inequality: It could create two
distinguishable groups based on their capacity to participate
in public affairs. One with access to the public debate, and one
barred from it. This would not only be unjust; it could stress
the social networks necessary for economic development, and
eventually erode the egalitarian bases of democracy. 7
Until the current inequality is resolved 8, the government and
NGOs need to proactively identify and train intermediaries
INEGI, Estadsticas a propsito del da mundial de Internet, May 14, 2015, accessed July 20, 2015,
http://www.inegi.org.mx/saladeprensa/aproposito/2015/internet0.pdf
6
Kaplan and De los Rios estimate the cost of broadband in Mexico equals 28,3% of the Mexican
minimum wage. Jeff Kaplan and Nagore De los Ros. Diagnstico sobre el Estado de Preparacin de
Datos Abiertos: Preparado para el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos 2013. Accessed July
10, 2015. http://opendatatoolkit.worldbank.org/docs/odra/odra_mexico_complete.pdf
7
T .M. Scanlon. On the Diversity of Objections to Inequality. In his The Difficulty of Tolerance:
Essays in Political Philosophy, (Cambridge: CUP, 2003) 202-18
5

capable of forwarding the interests of excluded populations (such


as indigenous communities).9

_
Legal framework, and
political commitment
towards the policy
In first place it is necessary to illuminate the legal framework upon
which the policy rests. This is fundamentally composed of three
basic pillars:

Executive Decree that establishes the Regulatory


Framework for Open Data (acquired force on the 21/2/2015)10

Regulates the opening of data held by the Federal Public


Administration, and State companies.

Establishes two criteria that should be taken into account by


offices to identify which datasets are a priority:

i) Objectives of the National Development Plan11;

ii) Citizen participation, according to stats on access


to information petitions, or any other mechanism the
office may have in place.

General Law on Transparency and Access to Public


Information (reform sanctioned on the 4/5/2015)12

The National Digital Strategy acknowledges access to the Internet as one of the 5 pre-requisites for an
effective open data policy, and the Constitutional reform on Telecommunications, establishes that the
Executive will guarantee universal digital inclusion. Nevertheless, in the short term the Government
can only mitigate the issues described. See: Decreto por el que se reforman y adicionan diversas
disposiciones de los artculos 6o., 7o., 27, 28, 73, 78, 94 y 105 de la Constitucin Poltica de los Estados
Unidos Mexicanos, en materia de telecomunicaciones. Published in Diario Oficial de la Federacin,
June 11, 2013. http://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5301941&fecha=11/06/2013
(accesed 16/8/2015).
9
On the role of intermediaries, see Van Schalkwyk, Francois; Canares, Michael; Chattapadhyay,
Sumandro; Andrason, Alexander. Open Data Intermediaries in Developing Countries (2015).
Accessed July 23, 2015. http://figshare.com/articles/Open_Data_Intermediaries_in_Developing_
Countries/1449222 On Internet
10
Presidential Decree of February 20, 2015, Decreto por el que se establece la
regulacin en materia de Datos Abiertos, (2015). http://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.
php?codigo=5382838&fecha=20/02/2015 (accessed 16/8/2015)
11
Synthesis in English at: Open Data Mx - Graphs and tables.xlsx. Date of last modification
indicated in spreadsheet. http://bit.ly/DataMXPolicies
8

10

New wording adopts the definition of Open Data included


in the Executive Decree (21/2/2015), and establishes that the

entities tasked with guaranteeing compliance with the law


shall promote the publication of the required information
using open formats. (Art. 52)

Guide for the Implementation of the Open Data policy


(published in the Official Journal of the Federation on the 18/6/2015) 13

Sets the guidelines and standards for the publication of


datasets, in accordance to the Executive Decree (21/2/2015).

Requires obliged entities to:

Appoint an administrator and a liaison with the open


data portal.

Identify existing datasets possessed by the entity,


determine which ones will be published, and develop a
public calendar to that end.

Objectives of the Open Data Policy according to the Executive Decree (published 21/2/15)

Impulse economic
growth, strengthen
competitiveness, and
promote innovation.

Increase transparency,
accountability, and
promote citizen
participation.

Trigger greater
government efficiency
and better service
provision, in support
of the development
objectives of good
governance and
knowledge generation.

Fig. 2. Source: Developed by the author, based on the Guide

14

A peculiarity of the normative framework is that it omits


references to the meaning of this policy within the modern
conception of democracy. Releasing government data in open
formats allows checking that the policies that are being promoted
by the representatives are sound, grounded on public interest, and
implemented following the objectives that were publicly offered as
Ley General de Transparencia y Acceso a la Informacin Pblica, Texto Vigente. Published in
Diario Oficial de la Federacin, May 4, 2015. http://www.diputados.gob.mx/LeyesBiblio/pdf/
LGTAIP.pdf (accessed 16/8/2015)
13
Unidad de Gobierno Digital de la Secretara de la Funcin Pblica, Gua de Implementacin
de la Poltica de Datos Abiertos, by Yolanda Martinez Mancilla, Diario Official de la
Federacin (Distrito Federal, Mexico, 18/6/2015). http://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.
php?codigo=5397117&fecha=18/06/2015 (accessed 20/7/2015)
14
Translated by the author. Original text available in Spanish: Guide for the Implementation of
the Open Data policy (op. cit). http://www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5397117&fecha=18/06/2015 (accessed 20/7/2015)
12

11

such. Yet transparency and citizen participation are concepts that


start to wither when removed from the soil of democracy on which
they should be grounded.
In this sense, the open data policy should find fertile soil in a
deliberative conception of democracy, where public decisions are
not justified merely in the interests of a majority, but through a
robust process of public deliberation in which the participation and
interests of all stakeholders are taken into account,
Anchoring the open data policy onto a
in order to design a policy that is based on the best
deliberative conception of democracy
available arguments. The open data policy could
would provide its implementers with a more
be understood as a precondition for robust public
appropriate perspective to judge the urgency deliberations.
to train members of traditionally excluded
groups, and promote articulation with
Anchoring the open data policy onto a deliberative
Oversight Institutions.
conception of democracy would provide its
implementers with a more appropriate perspective
to judge the urgency to train members of traditionally excluded
groups such as indigenous communities- in the art of data
processing, for them to have the same tools as the elites to defend
their interests. It would also make apparent the need to articulate
with the Ombudsman and the Supreme Audit Institution, since
without the data these entities produce only a partial outlook on
the countrys social and economic reality would be available. 15
Promoting private innovation and government efficiency though
relevant- should be understood as subsidiary objectives, since they
could be subject to revision by a deliberative process.
In terms of political commitment, the following timeline
contextualizes the actions of the Pea Nieto administration, which
inherited the policy. The timeline includes Open Government,
Abrelatam, and Condatos regional meetings, where public officials
and activists meet and discuss open data policies. These events play
a key role in disseminating good practices, and are perceived by
activists and public officials as a forum where they will account for
their actions before a specialized audience.faces in implementing
open data policies. These events play a key role in disseminating
good practices, and are viewed by activists and public officials as
deadlines, since it is a forum in which they will account for their
actions in front of a highly specialized international audience.
On the role of Supreme Audit Institutions in the context of open data policies, see Conclusiones
y balances del encuentro regional OCyGA 2015 en Buenos Aires, TPA Initiative Blog, June 2015:
http://bit.ly/1EglOyV (Google Translated version of post) (accessed 16/8/2015).
15

12

The implementation of datos.gob.mx: A timeline


Govt. launches Open Data
100 Mexico to map
companies and NGOs that
use open data
1st September

Mexico joins Open


Government Partnership
(OGP) under Felipe
Caldern (PAN) Presidency
1st OGP Action Plan
September

Enrique Pea Nieto (PRI)


takes over as President
Term: 2012-2018.
(No reelection)
1st December

Formalization of a Consultive
Council for the implementation
of the Open Data policy
6th December

Open Data Day event


carried out by NGO Social
Tic
21st February
Decree that regulates Open
Government Data comes
into effect.
21st February

Govt. launches 7 Public


Challenges initiative to
trigger demand.
13th August

Reform of Transparency
Law includes call to
promote open formats
4th May
Mexico hosts
worldwide OGP
summit
27-29 October

Mexicos 2nd OGP


Action Plan published:
Includes National
Portal on Open Data
29th January

Closing date for users to


participate of Datatrn
survey on data of interest
16th November

Govt. launches
Open Data Portal
14th February

2011

2012

2013

2014

23rd June
1st Abrelatam regional summit
on open data. Govt. and Civil
Society present.
URUGUAY

1th June
Teams of the Data
Squadron from Govt. train
public officials on opening
data practices.

25th November
Govt. publishes National
Digital Strategy.

2015

18th June
Govt. publishes Guide
for the implementation
of the open data policy
[for public servants]

7 - 8 September
Regional summits
Abrelatam and
Condatos.
CHILE

3 - 4 October
Regional summits Abrelatam
and Condatos
MEXICO

Open Government Partnership

Normative Framework

Abrelatam/Condatos

Actions/Policy implementation

Fig3. Source: several sources 16


For a more detailed account of these activities, and links to related documents, see Open Data
Mx - Graphs and tables.xlsx. Date of last modification indicated in spreadsheet. http://bit.ly/
DataMXEngTimeL
16

13

_
Supply and demand of
open government data: an
overview
The following graph shows the supply and demand of data from the
Ministries (Secretaras) that conform the Executive Branch, plus
5 key entities. The demand metrics (following the criteria set in the
Decree)17 are represented through the axes: The vertical axis shows
the Access to Information petitions accumulated by each entity
since the current President took office. The horizontal axis shows
the budget each entity was assigned for 2015, as a quantitative
expression of the National Development Plan. In terms of supply,
the size of the circles represent the number of datasets each entity
had published through datos.gob.mx by 27 August 2015. Next to
each entitys name there are two numbers: the first one represents
the number of datasets published by the entity through datos.gob.
mx; the second one represents an estimate of the average monthly
visits to its homepage during the past 6 months (in thousands).
As made visible by the graph, there is still a large gap between the
demand datos.gob.mx intends to satisfy according to the guidelines
set in the Decree, and the supply it has managed to channel through
datos.gob.mx to this date. The policy is still in its initial phase, so
there are reasons to believe that the new normative framework will
trigger an increase in data availability in the short term, though
particular attention should be put on those entities that have not
yet published any datasets, and currently face great demand, such
as the State Workers Social Security Institute, and security-related
Ministries.

i) In chapter 3 I will argue Access to Information petitions shouldnt be considered a self-sufficient


metric for demand. ii) The datos.gob.mx team ran a public consultation. Nevertheless results for each
category were too similar to offer any insights. See: Resultados de Encuesta Datatron Accessed 20
August 2015. http://datatron.herokuapp.com/.
17

14

State of Supply and Demand of open data from Mexican Ministries and Key Entities (27/08/2015)

(Accumulated: 1/12/2012 27/8/2015)

Access to information petitions received by entity

According to criteria established by Decree


Social Security Institute
5, 1900

28,000
26,000
24,000

Attorney Generals Oce


1, 160

22,000
M. Finance and Public Credit
7, 200

20,000
18,000
16,000
14,000
M. Interior
0, 200

M. Civil Service
12,000 0, 620
10,000
8,000
6,000
4,000
2,000

M. Public Education
7, 6300

M. Environment and Nat. Resources


3, 450

M. Defense
0, 280

Presidency
19, 190

State Workers Social Security


0, 1000

M. Health
4, 60
M. Comunications and transport
6, 660

Electricity Comission
7, 1400

Mexican Petroleum
63, 860

M. Social Development
108, 270

M. Economy
6, 350
M. Navy
0, 140

M. Agriculture
33, 430

0
50,000

100,000

150,000

200,000

M. Agrarian and Urban Development


2, 35

250,000

300,000

350,000

400,000

450,000

500,000

Assigned Budget, 2015 (Gross, in millions of Mexican pesos)

M. Foreign Affairs
0, 1400
M. Labor and Social welfare
2, 540
M. Tourism
7, 110
M. Energy
8, 55

00 , 00
# of datasets Visits to website
published in (in thousands)
datos.gob.mx

Graph 2. Source: based on several sources 18


Table and cleansed graph available at: Open Data Mx - Graphs and tables.xlsx. Date of last
modification indicated in spreadsheet. http://bit.ly/DataMXEng6
Source Budget: Secretara de Hacienda y Crdito Pblico, Presupuesto de Egresos de la Federacin
2015: Versin Ciudadana, 2015. Accessed July 20, 2015 http://www.transparenciapresupuestaria.
gob.mx/work/models/PTP/Home/Ultimas_Publicaciones/PEF_ciudadano_2015.pdf .
Source Access to information petitions: National Institute for Access to Information (INAI),
Sistema Infomex. Searches performed August 27, 2015. https://www.infomex.org.mx/
gobiernofederal/moduloPublico/filtroRespuestas.action .
Source Available datasets: Sitio oficial de Datos Abiertos del Gobierno de la Repblica, Searches in
http://busca.datos.gob.mx/#/instituciones performed August 28, 2015.
Source Average monthly website visits: SimilarWeb. Searches performed July 13, 2015. https://
www.similarweb.com/
18

15

02

_
Supply of open
data through
data.gob.mx

_
Definition
As portrayed by Fig. 1, individuals, companies, and government
agencies can create datasets. This report focuses on the supply of
data generated by agencies of the Federal Government that are made
available through datos.gob.mx, the Executives portal.

_
Introduction
Before analysing the state of supply of datasets, it is worth mentioning
three pre-existing studies.
First, the Global Open Data Index, that assesses the state of
openness of a series of datasets considered fundamental by the Open
Knowledge Foundation. The Index is broader than this diagnostic
in that it evaluates the online availability (though not necessarily
through datos.gob.mx) of datasets that are generated by the three
branches of government; yet narrower in its analysis of quality19.
Since the Index is in its second year, it provides a temporal context.

Open Knowledge Foundation. Methodology. Accessed July 28, 2015. http://index.okfn.org/


methodology/
19

16

Open Data Index 2014


Dataset

Format

Previous (2013)

Qualifications

Government Budget

CSV

70%

100%

Government Spending

xls

65%

65%

WMS, PDF, y otros

70%

90%

.txt, .xls

70%

70%

National
Statistics

CSV, PDF, y otros (dependiendo del archivo)

70%

70%

Pollutant
Emissions

XLS, PDF, y otros

60%

60%

Legislation

PDF, HTML

45%

45%

Post Codes/
Zip Codes

n/a

0%

10%

Transport
Timetables

n/a

0%

0%

Company
Register

n/a

20%

20%

National Map
Election Results

Table 1. Source: Adapted from Open Data Index 2014 20

Secondly, the Open Data Index, by the Open Data Barometer22,


which, as the Open Knowledge Foundation Index, takes into
consideration data available from all branches of government.
In this Index Mexico was ranked 24/86, and is considered to
have been progressing over time. Nevertheless, aligned with the
concerns reflected in this diagnostic, the Index notices no impact
of open data in the social area, which evaluates the impact of open
data on the inclusion of marginalized groups, and environmental
sustainability.22

Open Knowledge Foundation. Mexico. Accessed July 28, 2015. http://index.okfn.org/place/mexico/


Open Data Barometer. Open Data Index. 2015. Accessed September 4, 2015. http://barometer.
opendataresearch.org/
22
It must be noted that the Indexs results show that on average for the countries included in the Index, the
impact in the social area has been less relevant than all other impacts measured (entrepreneurial data use,
government efficiency, economic growth). It seems, therefore, that tackling this issue should be a greater
concern for the open data community.
20
21

17

24/861
>

Mexico $$$

SCORE> 50.09
+9.79

Readiness: Goverment
Impacts: Economic

100%

80%

Readiness: Citizens & Civil Society

60%

40%

Impacts: Social

20%

Readiness: Enterpreneurs & Business

Datasets: Accountability

Impacts: Political

Datasets: Social Policy

Datasets: Innovation

Fig.4 Source: Open Data Barometer. Open Data Index. 2015

Third, it is worth mentioning an Index published by the OECD


(2015)23, in which Mexico was ranked above the OECD average in
terms of open data.
Korea
France
United Kingdom
Australia
Canada
Spain
Portugal
Norway
United States
Mexico
Colombia
Finland
Greece
Austria
Japan
New Zeland
OECD
Germany
Belgium
Chile
Denmark
Slovenia
Switserland
Ireland
Italy
Estonia
Netherlands
Slovak Rep.
Sweeden
Poland
Turkey

0.98
0.92
0.83
0.81
0.79
0.78
0.76
0.68
0.67
0.65
0.64
0.63
0.62
0.60
0.59
0.58
0.55
0.54
0.54
0.51
0.48
0.48
0.43
0.39
0.38
0.35
0.33
0.24
0.13

Fig. 5. Source: OECD (2015)


OECD, Government at a Glance 2015. Paris: OECD Publishing, 2015 Accessed section on Open Data
August 13, 2015 http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/governmentat-a-glance-2015/open-government-data_gov_glance-2015-48-en#page2

23

18

The OECD Index is based on the answers of public servants of


each government to a survey consisting of 19 questions along three
dimensions:
1. Data availability on the national portal;
2. Data accessibility on the national portal; and
3. Governments support to innovative re-use and stakeholder
engagement.
Though the research undergone for the present report is enough to
endorse the Indexs ranking of Mexico24, there are many qualitative
this Index due to its nature- is incapable of reflecting. Nevertheless,
it effectively shows the open data policy is embryonic worldwide.

_
Overview of data supply through
datos.gob.mx
By 27 August 2015, only 13 of the 23 institutions identified as
holding key datasets by a report commissioned by the Government
in 201325 had published a dataset in datos.gob.mx26. This could
be interpreted as the policy having penetrated only 57% of the key
institutions.27
As the following graph shows there has been steady progress in
terms of general availability of datasets through the portal. It would
seem as if the normative framework is aiding the process, though
there are many unobservable variables affecting the pace of data
availability, such as the networking performed by the datos.gob.mx
team, and internal processes within each entity.
It must be underlined that this graph shows general availability of
datasets, without discriminating the value or quality of its content,
which will be analysed in the next sections. Nevertheless, it shows
there has been steady progress over the past months, and with the
recent publication of the Guide, there are reasons to believe this
process will pick up a quicker pace.

Yet recent tweaks could lead to setbacks: Comments section was cut, and the forum has been down
throughout the time of this research (July-August 2015).
25
Y Jeff Kaplan and Nagore De los Ros. Diagnstico sobre el Estado de Preparacin de Datos Abiertos:
Preparado para el Gobierno de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos 2013, 10. Accessed July 10, 2015. http://
opendatatoolkit.worldbank.org/docs/odra/odra_mexico_complete.pdf
26
Open table available at Open Data Mx - Graphs and tables.xlsx. Date of last modification indicated
in spreadsheet. http://bit.ly/DataMXInstitPenetrat
27
The recently published Guide (18/6/2015) instructing institutions to establish a calendar for the
publication of datasets, should generate a considerable progress shortly.
24

19

Entities that have


published at least
one dataset
(per month)
Datasets
available
(per month)

Entities that have published at least


one dataset (per month)

Supply of data through datos.gob.mx


Govt publishes Guide for
the implementation of the
policy (18/06/2015)

500
450
Decree that regulates Open
Data comes into effect
(21/02/2015)

400
350
300

Reform to transparency
law includes call to
promote open formats
(04/05/2015)

250
200
150
100
50
0
07/14

08/14

09/14

10/14

11/14

12/14

01/15

02/15

03/15

04/15

05/15

06/15

07/15

Date

Graph 3. Source: Elaborated by the author base don information obtained through an
Access to Information petition28. Note: The number of entities that have published datasets
includes State and Municipal entities.29

_
State of supply of key datasets
for Mexicos development
In order to perform a detailed analysis of availability and quality
of the data published a subset of the almost 500 datasets that were
available in datos.gob.mx at the time was chosen. To legitimize
the sample, it was drawn following the guidelines contained in a
report commissioned by the government to Kaplan and De los Ros
(ODRA) in 201330.
In ODRA the authors include a list of priority datasets and areas
based on one of the criteria later included in the Decree to define
demand: the objectives of the National Development Plan.31
Petition, reply, its analysis and processed data available at: Open Data Mx - Graphs and tables.xlsx. Last
modified September 4, 2015. http://bit.ly/DataMXPortalStats
29
On September 3, 2015 31 Federal Institutions that are part of the Executive Branch, and two
autonomous agencies had published datasets through datos.gob.mx
30
Kaplan and De los Rios (2015). Table in Open format available at: Open Data Mx - Graphs and tables.
xlsx. Date of last modification indicated in spreadsheet. http://bit.ly/DataMXEngTables
31
Systematization at: Open Data Mx - Graphs and tables.xlsx. Date of last modification indicated in
spreadsheet. http://bit.ly/DataMxPolicies
28

20

The table developed for ODRA rests on 5 pillars:


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Digital Management of National Territory


Universal Health
Quality Education
Digital Economy
Civil Security

Each pillar contains 3 to 9 subcomponents (datasets or more


generally in some cases-areas), identified as a priority, and a
reference to the entities that possess the data.
For the purpose of this diagnostic the datasets corresponding to
Digital Management of National Territory were not analysed
since the quality standards developed by the government are not
applicable to map-related formats.
The following tables synthesise the analysis on availability and
quality of the key datasets identified by ODRA. The colour
coding follows the rationale of a traffic light. An asterisk is
placed on those where there was more than one dataset, and
one of them was randomly selected for quality analysis. The
fulfilment indicator column refers more broadly to the
capacity of the available dataset(s) to comply with the implicit
objectives of the indicator. 32

Availability
As mentioned in the overview, only 13 of the 23 institutions
identified as holding key datasets has published a dataset
through datos.gob.mx (27/8/2015).

Color Coding
Yes

Partially

No

NO

Not Evaluated

NE

Not Applicable

NA

As shown by the table, though available datasets comply


with required formats, many key datasets are yet unavailable
through the portal (even though in some cases they exist and
are available elsewhere). The provision included in the Guide
to identify all datasets held by each institution could help solve
this problem, if properly followed up.
On the other hand, the table seems to stress the need to
motivate and monitor security-related institutions to increase
their compliance with the policy.
The Spanish version of the analysis was sent to interviewed users on 19/8/2015, and to the 98 email
accounts of public servants who published datasets through datos.gob.mx on the 25/8/2015. The link
was opened 38 times. It was also tweeted using relevant hash-tags. Full analysis available at: Open
Data Mx Graphs and tables.xlsx. Date of last modification indicated in spreadsheet. http://bit.ly/
DataMXIndicators
32

21

Area

Issue

Available at
datos.gob.mx

Healthcare

Cases of serious diseases*

Healthcare

Sanitary Infrastructure

Healthcare

Catalogue of sanitary units of care

Healthcare

Professionals per sanitary unit

Healthcare

Patients per sanitary unit

Education

Census of existing schools

Education

Exam results

Education

Population projections by CONAPO*

Education

Rate of graduations

Education

School expenditures (per school)

Economy

National Budget

Economy

Actual Expenses

Economy

Access to credit*

Economy

Registry of companies*

Economy

Data about customs offices

Economy

Contracts*

Economy

Roads

Economy

Meteorological Data*

Security

Wounded, injured, victims of aggression

Security

Deaths (causes and location) from the


Emergencies database

Security

Crime and Delinquency

Security

Register of disappearances

Format

Fulfilment of
indicator

NO

NO

NE

NO

NO

NE

NO

NO

NE

NO

NO

NO

NE

NO

NO

NO

NE

NO

NO

NE

NO

NO

NO

NE

NO

Table 2. Source: Elaborated by the author following methodology indicated in


http://bit.ly/DataMXIndicators

Quality
The quality of datasets available through datos.gob.mx was
analysed by applying the standards included in the Guide for
the Implementation of the Open Data Policy, published by the
Office of the President.33
As developed in the conclusion, the analysis calls for the
development of tools to help public officials comply with
the new quality standards, since the current situation, where
dataset descriptions are in many cases- poor, and columns are
codified, seriously hinder dataset usability, and the achievement
of the policys goals.

Systemized components of Guide, and methodology applied available at: Open Data Mx - Graphs
and tables.xlsx. Date of last modification indicated in spreadsheet. http://bit.ly/dataMXEng1 .
33

23

Area

Issue

Available at
datos.gob.
mx

Time fields
comply
with ISO
8601

Clarity of
column
titles

Quality of
dataset
description

Healthcare

Cases of serious
diseases*

Healthcare

Sanitary Infrastructure

NA

Healthcare

Catalogue of sanitary units of care

NA

Healthcare

Professionals per
sanitary unit

Healthcare

Patients per sanitary unit

Education

Census of existing
schools

Education

Exam results

Education

Overview
of dataset
quality

Fulfilment
of indicator

NO

NO

NA

NA

NO

NO

NO

NO

NE

NE

NE

NE

NE

NO

CONAPO population projections*

NA

Education

Rate of
graduations*

NO

Education

School expenditures (per school)

NO

NE

NE

NE

NE

NE

NO

Economy

National Budget

Economy

Actual Expenses

NO

NE

NE

NE

NE

NO

Economy

Access to credit*

NO

NO

NO

Economy

Registry of
companies*

NO

Economy

Data about
customs offices

NO

NE

NE

NE

NE

NE

NO

Economy

Contracts*

NO

NO

Economy

Roads

NA

NA

Economy

Meteorological
Data*

NA

NA

Security

Wounded, injured,
victims of
aggression

NO

NE

NE

NE

NE

NE

NO

Deaths (causes
and location) from
the Emergencies
database

NO

NE

NE

NE

NE

NE

NO

NO

NO

NO

NO

NE

NE

NE

NE

NE

NO

Security

Security

Crime and
Delinquency

Security

Disappearances

Use of
tags

Table 3. Source: Elaborated by the author following methodology indicated in http://bit.ly/DataMXIndicators

Conclusion and key recommendations


The call included in the Guide for the Implementation
of the Open Data Policy for entities to map all existing
databases within their archive will generate a key tool for
the analysis of the progress of the policy. It is therefore
important for this information to be systemized and
made easily accessible to the public.
Though the Guide provides clear procedures, and
examples to illustrate how progress should be made in
the design and standardization of dataset content and
metadata, surely unexpected issues will arise for which
the current Guide does not provide an answer. It is
therefore fundamental to require the appointed liaison
and administrator of each institution to keep a log of the
identified problems, and how they were tackled. User
feedback should also be called for, and systematically
recorded. This information would provide the datos.
gob.mx team the raw material to develop tailored best
practice guidelines and FAQ manuals in a horizontal
fashion, which in turn would help foster the community
spirit (issue developed in the final conclusion).
Dataset descriptions can still be improved. Defining how
to standardize its components could be an interesting
task to tackle collectively, and thus kick-start horizontal
relations between the communities of supply and
demand.
In terms of dataset quality, it is essential for datasets to be
accompanied by manuals, dictionaries and/or decoders,
particularly when the content of the dataset contains
coded, abbreviated or technical information. This
point is included in the Guide as a recommendation
for particular types of resources. However, it should be
considered a component as essential and indispensable
as the dataset itself, even in those cases in which the title
of the columns and the contents are not codified, or when
the person who publishes it thinks it self-explanatory,
since information such as the methodology, etc. are of
great value for users to assess how the data can and should
be used. In any case accompanying these documents
should be the rule, not the exception.
25

Implementing manual and automatic quality controls


before the dataset is made public. Checklists are a costeffective way of triggering cultural change, and rule
internalization, having shown impressive impacts in the
areas of aviation and medical practice34. In turn, it would
be useful for technology providers (such as CKAN and
Junar) to proceed with the design of a tool to facilitate
the automatic diagnostic of compliance with machineidentifiable components.

The platform could trigger a pop-up when the authorized officer tries to publish a dataset, which requires
her to tic a series of boxes by which she confirms that the dataset meets the quality indicators included in
the Guide. Each box should contain a question mark that when clicked upon explains what the indicator
means and how to verify compliance. On the impact of checklists in medical practice, see National Center
for Biotechnology Information. Safety Checklists in the Operating Room. Accessed September 3, 2015.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3489073/
34

26

03

_
Demand for data

_
Definition
This chapter contains an analysis of the characteristics and behaviour
of users and potential users of datos.gob.mx

_
Introduction: Access to
information petitions as a proxy
The National Institute for Access to Information (INAI), tasked with
facilitating peoples access to public information held by the State,
exists since 2003. Since its purpose is at least partially- juxtaposed
to that of datos.gob.mx, and because it collects detailed information
about petitioners profiles, it offers valuable insights about the profile
of prospective datos.gob.mx users.

Number of pettitions received

Number of petitions received yearly by INAI

140000
120000
100000
80000
60000
40000
20000
0
2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Year

Graph 4. Source: Elaborated by the author based on INAI, Informe de Labores 201435

O INAI, 12vo. Informe de Labores al H. Congreso de la Unin 2014. Mexico City, 2015. 36. Accessed
July 20, 2015. http://inicio.inai.org.mx/SitePages/Informes-2014.aspx. Table in open format available at:
Open Data Mx - Graphs and tables.xlsx. Date of last modification indicated in spreadsheet. http://bit.
ly/DataMXEngTables
35

27

The almost constant increase in the number of petitions seems to


indicate that as more people learn about the mechanism the more
petitions that are filed.
The following table shows that over 70% of the petitions were filed by
people who had already filed a petition before. The table also shows
a community of serial petitioners who should definitely be targeted
by datos.gob.mx. It must be underlined, nevertheless, that this
community reflects the economic inequalities of Mexico: In 2014
over 80% of the petitions filed corresponded to users who reported
having at least a university degree36. This situation must be taken into
account by units that in following the Executive Decree (see chap
1.ii)- justify the prioritization of certain datasets based on access to
information petitions received. If the policy adopts the deliberative
democracy outlook, the demand based rationale for prioritizing
datasets requires incorporating dialogues with the Ombudsman
and other rights-focused entities that could represent the interests of
excluded groups.

Number of users sorted by number of accumulated petitions filed between


12 June 2003 and 31 December 20141
Range

Number of Users

Number of petitions filed

Percentage of
total petitions filed

One petition

320451

320451

27.7

Two petitions

51005

102010

8.8

3-5 petitions

30938

111483

9.6

6-20 petitions

14813

144106

12.5

21-100 petitions

4045

164133

14.2

101-300 petitions

667

113866

9.8

301-500 petitions

126

48329

4.2

501-1000 petitions

63

43172

3.7

Over 1000 petitions

37

109840

9.5

422145

1157390

100

Total

Table 4. Source: Fumega and Mendiburu (2015) 37


INAI, 12vo. Informe de Labores al H. Congreso de la Unin 2014. 36.
Silvana Fumega and Marcos Mendiburu, Uso y cumplimiento de la legislacin sobre acceso a la
informacin pblica: Las experiencias sobre datos de desempeo en Brasil, Chile y Mxico. 2015. Accessed
July 10, 2015. http://redrta.cplt.cl/_public/public/folder_attachment/a6/1a/1a8c_c2c4.pdf
36
37

28

_
Demand of data through
datos.gob.mx
Stats of visits to portal
Since the policy is based on a web platform, analysing web traffic
can be a valuable source of information about its users. Though
these stats should be public since they help identify weaknesses
and promote innovation, datos.gob.mx does not currently publish
them, and it was necessary to file an access to information petition
to access them38.

Visits per month


Downloads per
month
Searches within
portal

Visits / downloads / Searches within portal


(per month)

Demand for data through datos.gob.mx


25000

Civ Soc organizes


Open Data Day
21/02/2015

Govt. organizes
7 Public Challenges
13/08/2014

Govt. Publishes Guide for


policy implementation
18/05/2015

Decree regulating Open Data


21/02/2015

20000

15000

10000

5000

0
07/14

08/14

09/14

10/14

11/14

12/14

01/15

02/15

03/15

04/15

05/15

06/15

07/15

Date

Graph 5. Source: Elaborated by the author based on data provided by datos.gob.mx through
an access to information petitio) 39

Petition, reply, its analysis and processed data available at: Open Data Mx - Graphs and tables.xlsx. Last
modified September 4, 2015. http://bit.ly/DataMXPortalStats
39
See previous footnote.
38

29

As shown by the graph, activities such as 7 public challenges,


organized by the government, and Open Data Day, organized
by NGO Social Tic, seem effective ways of triggering demand, and
showcase the portal, helping potential users identify datos.gob.mx
as a source of data.
To contextualize the data, estimated web traffic of other national
open data portals was gathered through a reputable web app
(similarweb.com)40. Since the Mexican portal is the newest one
amongst the analysed, as the following table shows, there is much
room for progress. It is important to mention the correlation between
the OECD Index (that focuses mostly on portal architecture, and
good practices), and the number of estimated visitors, though a
bigger sample of countries and a regression analysis are required to
determine if they are actually related41.
Country
(and tech provider)

Percentage
of internet
users

Estimation of
average portal
views per
month in last 6
months

Views/population
with access

Ranking
views/population with
access

Position in
OECD Open
Data Index

Launch
Date

Korea (CKAN)

84,30%

45000

0,002132962868

NA-12

France (CKAN)

83,80%

110000

0,001982812839

Dec-11

Chile (Junar)

72,40%

20000

0,001554296399

19

Sep-11

USA (CKAN)

87,40%

260000

0,0009329661424

May-09

Spain (CMS &


Federador)

76,20%

20000

0,0005656059535

Nov-11

Mexico (CKAN)

44,40%

25000

0,0004548195784

10

Feb-14

Table 5. Source: Elaborated by the author based on several sources 42


In order to minimize distorsions, for the purpose of this table, the data provided by similarweb.com was
also used to estimate traffic to datos.gob.mx41 See previous footnote.
41
The high demand is most probably due to the development of the countries economy, and the high
ranking in OECD Index merely willingness to comply with pre-existing standards. Yet, it would be
interesting to see how the variables analysed in the Index impact on demand that is not seasonal. More
comparisons available at: http://bit.ly/dataMxEngWebStats
Date of last modification indicated in doc. http://bit.ly/dataMxEngWebStats
42
Full table available at: Open Data Mx - Graphs and tables.xlsx. Date of last modification indicated
in spreadsheet. http://bit.ly/1QbnfA5 Sources: Population estimates and percentage of population
with access to the Internet: World Bank. World Bank Databank, accessed July 20, 2015, (http://
data.worldbank.org/) consulted on July 2015. Source estimated average visits to Ministrys web portals:
SimilarWeb. Searches performed between 29 and 31 July 2015. https://www.similarweb.com/. Source:
Ranking of views/population: elaborated by the author based on information from the previously
mentioned sources, and takes into account only the 6 portals under analysis. OECD Index OECD,
Government at a Glance 2015. Accessed 29/7/2015.
40

30

Insights from Interviews


With the objective of recording users perspectives on the portal,
25 professional Mexican data users from NGOs, newspapers and
government offices were interviewed.
Though all the interviewed people backed the policy, only one of
the non-governmental users reported accessing the portal regularly.
Most users had accessed the portal soon after it was launched, and
either did not find any data previously unavailable through other
portals, or found very low quality datasets. After these experiences
the interviewed users stopped consulting datos.gob.mx43.
It seems there is an upfront cost in understanding the portals
architecture, and developing relationships with contacts in
government offices, which leads users to stick to the portals they
are used to. Many users also suggested that portals such as INEGI
(National Institute for Statistics and Geography) offer live customer
service, manuals, and better metadata than datos.gob.mx.
In terms of how the data ecosystem is developed, the relationship
between datos.gob.mx and well-established data portals, such
as INEGI, CONAPO (Population projections), and Budget
Transparency, seems to be unclear, and perhaps requires
rearrangements. If datos.gob.mx intends to compete with these wellestablished portals, it would be misplacing energy. Yet the objective
of creating a single door to all available data could create tensions
with public servants in some of the entities under Executive
control, and perhaps a limited cooperation from those who work
in autonomous agencies, such as INEGI.

_
Conclusion and recommendations
to increase data demand

The analysis included in the section on Demand refers only


to existing demand. It is important to underline that this
does not encompass all those who could benefit from the
policy. As stressed throughout this report, and particularly
from a deliberative conception of democracy, it is important
to devise strategies to increase and diversify the groups that
demand:
Providing a notifications service when new datasets are published could help restart conversations
with disenfranchised users, whilst complying with the only point highlighted as incomplete by the
OECD Index.
43

31

Including the excluded groups such as indigenous


communities could require revising the Open Data
definition included in the Decree, since it currently
entails availability of data through the Internet, which
though positive in theory- could limit the scope of
possible strategies the datos.gob.mx takes into account
when defining where to look for demand. In Colombia,
for example, pen drives are used to distribute data
amongst those communities with access to computers,
but where the Internet is yet unavailable.
The policy has long-term goals that will only be achievable
through long-term strategies that should include
agreements on curricula with schools and universities in
order to increase the number of people who are able to
process and interpret data effectively. 44
A key issue to impulse demand is trust in the data and its
usefulness. As was shown through the analysis of a sample of
datasets, and through interviews with professional data users,
data quality is still a major issue. This was one of the reasons
mentioned by users to justify their choice for other sources.
Some users mentioned the lack of trust in government data
as a more general challenge the policy faces. Aligned with
this diagnostic, the OECDs last report claims only 30%
of Mexicans trust their government.45 In this context, it is
important for the datos.gob.mx team to identify institutions
that are trusted by the people, and incorporate them into
the broader policy of promoting open data. Related to this
point, it would be useful to integrate mechanisms for users to
report on data quality and dataset usability, in order to build
upon peer trust, and the trust harvested by other institutions,
such as NGOs and newspapers.
Foster the study of dataset quality. The analysis shows that
available datasets, at least within the analysed sample, comply
with the required formats. It seems it is time for both national
and international stakeholders to push the standards a bit
further, and include more metrics in their quality analysis. In
In Argentina, for example, the Ministry for Education recently passed a resolution to include
programming in schools, which will initially be rolled out as a pilot in 300 public schools. Program.ar.
Preguntas Frecuentes sobre la Resolucin del Consejo Federal de Educacin. Accessed September
3, 2015. http://programar.gob.ar/faq-consejo-federal-de-educacion/
45
OECD (2015), Government at a Glance 2015, OECD Publishing, Paris. Accessed September 3,
2015.http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/governance/government-at-aglance-2015/confidence-in-national-government-in-2014-and-its-change-since-2007_gov_glance2015-graph107-en#page2
44

32

the end its dataset quality that determines the use of datasets,
and its ability to provide answers or solutions to questions
or complex situations. The current structure of incentives
which seems to focus on availability and formats- will
give reasons for public officials to dump resources onto the
platform to signal high metrics of compliance.
Redefine the portals search engine parameter: the portal
is going through a process of migration from the basic
CKAN design to a design created by the datos.gob.mx team.
Though there have been many positive changes, particularly
the development of sections that show potential users the
value of using data, and the development of visualizations
(key elements in a context of relatively low digital uptake),
at the time of this diagnostic the search engine seemed to
be performing less effectively than the previous one (http://
catalogo.datos.gob.mx/dataset). 46

See column N of sheet 8, Open Data Mx - Graphs and tables.xlsx. Date of last modification
indicated in spreadsheet. http://bit.ly/1iesQdv
46

33

04
_

General conclusion
and recommendations

A_
Need to develop a plural and
sustainable ecosystem
A data ecosystem should include:
A motivated group of public servants who supply data (from all
branches of government, and oversight institutions);
A plural community of users and intermediaries.
Nevertheless, the defining attribute of an ecosystem is not its
actors, but the relationships between them. Public servants who
publish the data are currently isolated from each other, and only
have a vertical relationship with the Office of the President. This
diminishes the potential for innovation and the capacity to impact
on the identity of these public servants. In many cases these people
are young and new to the units they work in. Being in charge of
rolling out this policy -which requires a deep cultural change- will
often confront them with more hierarchical officials within their
units. In this context, developing a safety net of public servants
in the same position as them is fundamental. It would be a step
towards giving them a double identity: Members of their unit and
promoters of open data. This requires developing their feelings
of ownership over datos.gob.mx, which in turn requires a more
horizontal structure of relationships. 47
Aligned with this point, almost none of the interviewed users had
had any contact with any public servant that publishes data on
datos.gob.mx, though they did believe they were part of an active
user community.48 It is important for the community of users to
See George A. Akerlof and Rachel E. Kranton, Identity Economics : How Our Identities Shape
Our Work, Wages, and Well-Being (Princeton University Press: 2010), 53. And: World Bank. World
Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior. Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015.
Accessed August 20, 2015. http://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/Publications/WDR/
WDR%202015/WDR-2015-Full-Report.pdf
47

34

proactively seek to include the newly appointed public servants to


the gatherings they periodically organize.
Through the interviews with public servants it was possible to sense
there is still a degree of distrust towards the data activists and NGOs.
To breach this wall it will be necessary for the user community to
be strategic in its approach. As explained by Fumega49, the open
data community generally has a more pragmatic and collaborative
approach towards public sector than the access to information
communities public servants are more used to.
For these reasons, it is important for the activist community to be
wise in how it frames the content and tone of the first engagement
events, and for the Office of the President to be willing to adopt a
more secondary role as enabler, facilitating the development of a
more horizontal network.
The development of relationships between these communities
would not only lessen the tension the administrators of datos.
gob.mx deal with when acting as a bridge between these actors,
but would also provide a more enriching experience for both
communities.

B_
Need to create mechanisms to
increase data quality
Currently, as shown by Graph 2, datos.gob.mx is not satisfying
existing demand for data. Yet the new normative framework will
surely increase data availability in the short term.
The interviewed users and the analysis of datasets indicate that
data quality is a major issue which if not tackled pre-emptively will
require a great deal of cleaning work by each of the data users, which
is inefficient. Much more could and should be done by technology
See timeline of most important milestones of civil society data-related activities at Open Data Mx - Graphs
and tables.xlsx. Date of last modification indicated in spreadsheet. http://bit.ly/dataMXngoMilestones .
There are also informal gatherings such as Datos y Mezcales, usually organized by NGO Social Tic with
different partners, where data users present updates on how they have used data for their projects. See for
example: Social Tic. Datos y Mezcales: Los proyectos de #MeetupDF. Accessed September 3, 2015.
http://socialtic.org/post/97317594618/datos-y-mezcales-los-proyectos-de-datameetup-df
49
Silvana Fumega. World Wide Foundation. Freedom of information and open government
data communities could benefit from closer collaboration. Accessed September 3, 2015. http://
webfoundation.org/2015/08/freedom-of-information-and-open-government-data-communities-couldbenefit-from-closer-collaboration/
48

35

providers to develop tools such as:


1. Interactive/Smart checklists for those who publish data;
2. Software that automatically detects compliance with standards,
aggregating data on most common errors and units with lowest
quality datasets; and
3. Tools for users to report on quality of existing datasets.

C_
Importance of fostering civic
hacking of the portal
Many interviewees had clear ideas of the many tweaks the portal
could benefit from. Yet the new API (Application Programming
Interface) that would allow experimentation through the creation of
mirror sites and plug-ins has not been published by datos.gob.mx.
The International community should establish that the publicity
of the API and the portals statistics are a basic condition for
government open data portals, and support innovation through
civic hacking activities.
A key step towards the policys entrenchment and resilience
towards partisan and leadership change is to create strong and
active community that feels it owns the policy. In this sense, once
again, it is important for the datos.gob.mx team to be open towards
adopting a more secondary role as facilitator. Having placed the
team within the Presidents Office definitely provides short-term
gains by increasing the odds of ministerial cooperation, but it is
important to underline datos.gob.mx should not be perceived by
public servants or by the people as a partisan or personal project of
the President. The policy should be understood as the construction
of an institution that will strengthen democracy (whilst
simultaneously increasing state efficiency, and providing tools for
private innovation). Favouring the possibility for entrepreneurs and
activists to participate actively in the portals development would,
at least formally, increase the chances of having the public identify
the portal as a long-term initiative.

36

05
_

Next Steps

As the timeline (Fig 2.) suggests, the international community plays a


key role in developing the national agenda. As a result of the analysis,
it is possible to suggest it promotes the following courses of action:
1_ Tackle both ends of supply
a) High end->Stick: Make visible the impact of Ministers
political commitment towards the policy by mapping the
Ministries and their child agencies, and the number of datasets
each publish through datos.gob.mx. (E.g. in footnote50).
b) Low end->Identity: Foster the creation of spaces where
public officials who create and manage data interact
horizontally, and with users.
2_ Incorporate a greater range of quality indicators within
future indexes.
3_ More voices
a) Integrate the Ombudsman and Supreme Audit Institution
to the Open Data agenda.
b) Proactively identify and incorporate excluded groups and/
or their intermediaries to the demand community.

Sketch and matrix for an observatory available through: Open Data Mx - Graphs and tables.xlsx. Date
of last modification indicated in spreadsheet. http://bit.ly/DataMXObservatory
50

37

Bg
_

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