Open Budget Data: Mapping the Landscape

68 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2015

Date Written: September 2, 2015


How public money is collected and distributed is one of the most pressing political questions of our time, influencing the health, well-being and prospects of billions of people around the world. Decisions about fiscal policy affect everyone -- determining everything from who pays how much tax, to the resourcing of essential public services such as schools and hospitals, to the capacity of public institutions to take action on global challenges such as poverty, inequality or climate change.

Digital technologies have the potential to transform the way that information about public money is organised, circulated and utilised in society, which in turn could shape the character of public debate, democratic engagement, governmental accountability and public participation in decision-making about public funds. Advocates argue that data could play a vital role in tackling the democratic deficit in fiscal policy and in supporting better outcomes for citizens.

This report provides a mapping and analysis of the emerging issue of open budget data, which has appeared as ideals from the open data movement have begun to gain traction amongst advocates and practitioners of financial transparency. It charts a constellation of definitions, best practices, actors, issues and initiatives associated with the emerging issue of open budget data in different forms of digital media -- from social media platforms to search engine results.

The report was undertaken as a collaboration between the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam, the Global Initiative for Financial Transparency (GIFT) and Open Knowledge.

Keywords: open data, financial transparency, digital methods, public finance, public participation, transparency, accountability, public policy, democracy, digital STS, science and technology studies

Suggested Citation

Gray, Jonathan, Open Budget Data: Mapping the Landscape (September 2, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Jonathan Gray (Contact Author)

King's College London ( email )

London, England WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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