In 2010, Slovakia’s new prime minister, Iveta Radičová, mandated that every government contract be published online in a central registry before companies or individuals received any payments. The success of that transparency initiative and pressure from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) persuaded Radičová to join the Open Government Partnership in 2011 and prioritize open data as a tool for improving governance. After the 2012 elections brought the opposing political party back into power, the small government office charged with implementing the open data initiative lost the active support of the prime minister’s office. In response, the office worked with a dozen committed NGO activists to press for political support, coordinate with various ministries, and ensure that Slovakia’s nascent open data portal would survive. During the next three years, the office was able to preserve and build on the gains made during the Radičová era, creating a portal that featured more than 600 data sets—of admittedly varying quality—of information ranging from crime statistics to agricultural data. By mid 2015, Slovakia’s ministries were preparing to release before the year’s end an additional 15 open-format data sets that the NGO community considered highest priority.
Jordan Schneider drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Bratislava in July 2015. This case study was funded by the Open Government Partnership. Case published in October 2015.