This report is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2019. On Saturday 2nd March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. ACCESA from Costa Rica and Sofia Montenegro, one of our School of Data Fellows from Guatemala, received funding through the mini-grant scheme by the Latin American Initiative for Open Data (ILDA) and by Hivos / Open Contracting Partnership, to organise events under the Open Contracting theme. This report was written by María Fernanda Avendaño Mora and Daniel Villatoro.
Experience in Costa Rica and activities of ACCESA
What we did
In Costa Rica, on March 2th we celebrate the Open Data Day with a full agenda with several talks, workshops, and conversations. The activity was carried out at the Center for Research and Training in Public Administration of the University of Costa Rica from 9:00 a.m. at 4:00 pm. More than 100 people signed up and participated throughout the day, and an approximate 46% of the attendees were women.
One of the activities was the presentation of the Open Data Guide on Public Procurement and the case of Costa Rica. From data presented, we learned that not all public institutions use the integrated public procurement system and that the data of this system is not in open data. We also learned about Open Contracting Data Standards (OCDS) and about all the possibilities of use data to make better decisions if the data of the purchasing system were in open data format.
Another activity was the presentation of Results for Costa Rica of the Transparent Public Procurement Rating (TPPR) and the development of a workshop to define the route map for Costa Rica achieve the standards in open contracting in short and middle term.
Lessons learned from experience
- In Open Data and Transparency in Public Procurement, Costa Rica has a big gap between what the law said and the real implementation of the law in practice.
- One aspect that makes it difficult to take action on open data and efficient and transparent Public Procurement management is the absence of a single governing body and clearly established in the law with good muscle to lead governance on the issue of Public Purchases.
- We have to stop seeing the public purchase as a purely administrative procedure to begin to see public procurement as a policy for the public good where the State uses its considerable financial muscle to achieve social and development objectives.
- An action that is viable to open the data is the development of an API with public procurement data so that anyone can get the information they need and build the solutions that the private sector and civil society consider appropriate. ll that is needed is political will and technical diligence.
- There is an opportunity to exploit the public procurement system, in order to collect useful data according to public policy priorities. For example, if you want to strengthen the enterprises led by women, then in the public procurement system you should ask questions about that topic to collect data.
Elections, Public Contracts and Open Science: the mix at #ODD19 Guatemala
In Guatemala, the OpenDataDay event worked around three main themes. Each with different dynamics and spaces for learning.
Data and elections
Taking advantage that elections are taking place this year, innovative electoral projects that use technology and data were presented. Each project collects and shares data in an open format that allows citizens to cast an informed vote.
Here is a detail of the projects presented:
- “For Whom I Vote?” it’s a virtual platform where users fill a questionnaire that measures their preference with parties participating in the electoral process. This allows each user to identify firstly their own ideological position, but also how closely they are with each political party. Moreover, the platform collects data such as demographic variables and location of users participating in the test. These data will be accessible for analysts to identify potential research proposals.
- 3de3 (or 3for3) is a replica of a mexican project that demands transparency from political candidates, inviting them to share three important documents: their tax return, a statement of interest (to avoid possible conflict of interest) and their patrimonial declaration.
- La Papeleta (The ballot) by Guatecambia is a directory that converts the legal documents of candidates registration by the electoral office (scanned PDFs) to transcribed and machine-readable data.
Tracking public moneyflows
At the School of Data fellowship we have worked in a research project that maps out the process of public contracting as part of our work related to OpenContracting values. A visualization and the web platform was presented as a preview and a validation process to understand the needs from data users, their interest for Open Data about contracts and the best ways to explain and engage people into transparency efforts. Sofia Montenegro, current School of Data fellow presented her research and some of the key findings of the process.
Led by Kevin Martinez-Folgar, a researcher in epidemiology who gave us a quick introduction to the framework around making scientific findings open, a tipsheet on how to conduct research that way, and a list of online resources to learn and apply to do so.
We browsed around OSF.io to understand how to be open across the whole research cycle, ArXiv.org to know a distribution server for articles and an electronic archive to learn and Zenodo to publish and share the results. We also reviewed some projects in github and learned about identification in the digital world through the Digital Object Identifier System.
Last but not least, we reviewed the contents available from the OpenScienceMOOC and reflected around the lack of knowledge available for Spanish speaking audiences.
The activity was organized by School of Data and its local fellowship, with the help from trainers and the projects that presented their work. We celebrated as a community, a space to shared experiences, best practices and exchange ideas for future collaborations.
You can learn more about the work done by our spanish speaking School of Data community at our blog.