October 2018

Jamaica’s open data programme has advanced further than most of its counterparts in the Caribbean, placing it at the top of most regional rankings. In recent years there have been legislative developments (data protection legislation tabled; open data policy in development), infrastructural developments (portal), as well as capacity building through data training programmes. Despite recent developments, the country has experienced very limited impact from its open data programme thus far. Several issues relating to data quality, the reactive nature of data release within government, issues with the access to information request process, and a lack of focus on answering specific questions with open data, are significant barriers to its re-use and impact in Jamaica. Many of the current challenges stem from the absence of an open data policy which provides guidance, and standardizes data collection, distribution, and quality, across government agencies.

 

This report assesses Jamaica’s current open data programme, and identifies those shortcomings to be remedied, as well as opportunities where value could be added. The following recommendations are made to improve the effectiveness of the current programme, and to extract significant and measurable value from open data.