Challenges for activists to obtain open government data

Hello all

My apologies for writing in English.

My Name is Diana and I work for the Swiss administration (Canton of Basel City) in egovernment. Part of my job is to implement the open government data strategy of the canton. We are in contact with open data activists all over Europe and we would like to know: what do you consider as major challenges in obtaining open government data from the administration in your country. I am curious what challenges open data activists in Croatia are facing in comparison to, say, Switzerland or France.

I hope this doesn’t sound too weird. It is our goal to collect different experiences from the open data community so that we can consider them in our own approaches to make data open.

Kind regards from Basel


Welcome Diana!
No, your questions are not weird. I think they are in place.

In my opinion, biggest challenges in obtaining open gov data from public administration in Croatia:

  • many public bodies collect huge datasets of data, but in their opinion these datasets are not relevant to general public - so data is never released
  • developers, activists and community groups in need of gov datasets often must use FOI law to get data they need, and event that does not guarantee that public body will answer
  • public administration has data, but their concerns are “what if I release accidentally secret/private data” so better if I don’t release anything
  • often even datasets that must be proactively published are not published
  • public administration lacks proper IT resources (i.e. personnel that know how to operate with datasets, upload them, publish on website)
  • public officers have opinion better not to leave paper trail, so I can answer you on phone, but not in written
  • we (requestors of data) don’t know what kind of data they have and that leads to wrongly filled in FOI requests that are dismissed as incomplete
  • public administration will rather share data in PDF then in original document (original format), so it’s hard to get something for re-use.

Miroslav, thank you very much for your comprehensive answer!
Does Croatia has a Open Data strategy with which the state commits to for example the G8 Open Data Agenda?
Or is the main entrance for data activsts the right to information act?

Kind regards from Switzerland


Nope, Croatia does not have any Open Data strategy/policy.
Main legal act data activists use to access information is Right to Information Act (RTI/FOI).

so the FOI is the only way you Approach the public Administration when it Comes to obtaining open data?
Besides hackathons (which in my experience are not a magnet for general public administration staff), how
do you approach the public Administration? Do you offer workshops or such?