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Berners Lee: UK most advanced country for open data but world leaders must do more

A new report unveiled by Sir Tim Berners-Lee has found the UK to be the most open in terms of government data, however many of the countries committed to transparency are failing to deliver.

Berners-Lee, the founder of the world wide web, revealed the Open Data Barometer report this week ahead of today's Open Government Partnership Summit in London.

The survey of 77 countries saw the UK come ahead of other top performers Sweden, New Zealand, USA, Norway and Denmark, while Nigeria, Mali and Saudi Arabia scored the lowest.

"It is important that efforts to open up data and information are meaningful and lead to real change," said Berners-Lee. "Governments and companies must not shy away from publishing contentious datasets if they contain information that could be used to dramatically improve people's lives."

He called for world leaders to "back talk on transparency and accountability with action", saying that the initiatives currently in place are relying too heavily on pressure from campaigners.

"The open data movement has made a promising start," he said, "but many Open Government Data initiatives are presently resting on shallow foundations, at risk of falling backwards if political will or pressure from campaigners subsides."

The report cited the benefits of open data, which include fighting corruption and poverty, as well as fuelling industry growth and innovation.

"Amongst this dramatic progress, diffusion of the open data idea has not been equally experienced across geographies and sectors," the report states. "Nor have the potential benefits of open data been locked in. There is still a long way to go before the democratic, social and economic potentials of open data can be fully realised in every country."