Public Data Publication

The Ministry of State in charge of digital issues commits to help French public services accelerate public data publication, as well as source codes and algorithms [OGP 5,6,7].

Completion Status:
Partially fulfilled

Commitment filtering:


This commitment is specific as it targets the publication of data, source codes and algorithms by French public services as a sufficiently narrow anti-corruption mechanism. This commitment states that it relates to French OGP commitments from the 2018-2020 action plan: commitment 5 “Appoint ministerial data administrators and support the implementation of the ‘open by default’ principle”; commitment 6, “Improving transparency of public algorithms and source codes” and commitment 7, “Support local areas in implementing open data by the default principle”.[1]

[1] OGP, France National Action Plan 2018-2020, pp.17-25,


The  commitment can be made measurable by referring to the roadmaps of OGP commitments 5, 6 and 7.

Last updated: 22 October 2022
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For several years, French administrations have been engaged in publication of data, source codes, and algorithms. A 2018 decree implementing the 2016 Digital Republic Act added source codes and algorithms to the list of documents which administrations or public agencies must make available to citizens.[1] To date, the data, source codes and algorithms can be found on, and

5.1 a) Appoint a data administrator within each ministry. Fulfilled

The prime minister appointed ministry data administrators, responsible for developing the ministry strategy for data, algorithms and source codes, and for coordinating stakeholders within each ministry. There are data administrators in 17 ministries, and one in the prime minister’s cabinet.[2]

b)    Oversee the network of ministry data administrators, together with the general data administrator at the Inter-ministerial Department of Government Digital, Information and Communication Systems (DINSIC). Fulfilled

A series of dedicated committees have been established and are led by the Etalab department:[3]

–    Inter-ministry councils of the chief data officers of each ministry (Comité interministériel des administrateurs des données, CIAD), held every six months. These meetings were institutionalised in the prime-ministerial circular of 27 April 2021 on data, algorithms and source code policy[4]

–    Quarterly steering committees

–    Regular bilateral exchanges between ministries

c)    Support government departments and bolster dialogue on opening up public data:
– Publish a practical educational guide on opening up public data, which provides a clear reminder of the new legal framework (Digital Republic Act, GDPR)
– Offer training to officials
– Involve data re-users in drawing up future open data policies (through hackathons, consultations or training, for example) 
Partly fulfilled

Etalab has published different guides on producing, collecting and using data, software source code or algorithms.[5] These refer, for example, to Article 119 of the Data Protection Act. Two of the guides are aimed at public institutions.[6]

–   Etalab is also developing a civil servants training package, but this will not be available before the end of 2022.[7] It has organised thematic exchange workshops with public agents and administrations on data quality, reuse and availability.[8]

–   Etalab is organising events on public algorithms to create a consolidated registry across ministries.[9] For instance, DINUM participated in six workshops to define and implement its policy for publishing some of its source codes.[10] DINUM has also organised several hackathons with other ministries or administrations – for instance, two editions of #dataFin on local finances (with the Cour des Comptes).[11] However, according to the OGP Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) report, feedback from participants of the #datafin event indicated that there could have been more citizens and data scientists present.[12]

d)     Assess the impact of opening up public data:
– Organise a study day for understanding the impacts of opening up public data
– Develop tools (indicators, data science) for measuring the impact that instruments opening up public data have on the economy, democratic life and other areas
– Set up an international working group on the impact of opening up public data for discussing feedback from other countries
Partially fulfilled

–    There is no public evidence of a study day having been organised.

–    France contributes to the European Open Data Maturity Index, which assesses the impact of published data (strategic awareness, and political, social, environmental and economic impact).[13]

–    France is involved in an international OGP working group, “Open Algorithms”.[14]

5.2 a) Produce five public algorithm monographs to identify technical, legal and organisational issues. Include civil society participation in the study. Not fulfilled

Etalab has published a guide to help the administration produce monographs of algorithms.[15] So far, these monographs have not been produced.

b)     Make recommendations to administrations on essential information on public algorithms, in compliance with the principle of algorithmic transparency. Fulfilled

In September 2021, the ministerial roadmaps on data, algorithms and source code policy were published. Among the general objectives of enhancing data quality, availability, infrastructure and use in public policy decision-making, the main aim is to consolidate data across administrations and make it available.[16]

c)     Draft a guide to open public source codes for use by administrations. Fulfilled

Etalab published a guide to help administrations to open public-sector source codes and on using public algorithms (version 2 in 2020).[17]

d)     Organise hackathons based on opening public algorithms. Not fulfilled

Etalab confirmed that no hackathons dedicated to public algorithms have yet been organised.[18]

5.3 Support local areas in implementing the principle of open data by default.
a) Maintain and add to the educational and methodological resources for local areas.

The Etalab department of the DINUM works together with the association OpenDataFrance[19] and the National Agency for Territorial Cohesion (Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires, ANCT) to help local governments open their data and conform to legal obligations. The ANCT is the public body in charge of coordinating cooperation between the central government and local authorities in the field of open government data.[20] Numerous educational and methodological resources were made available on the platform OSMOSE. This platform allows all state actors to coordinate a professional community online.[21]

b)     Perpetuate and add to the training provision for local areas by building on new partnerships and setting up a network of training leaders. Not fulfilled

According to the OGP 7 IRM evaluation,[22] few efforts were made to provide training or build capacities at local level. Further research shows that this was still the case in December 2021. As part of the Digital transformation of territories programme (Transformation numérique des territoires, TNT), a survey was launched among local elected officials to identify their training needs,[23] indicating that the training programme is only at its inception phase.

a)    Continue to support and update the common local database.[24] Fulfilled

A series of data standards and schemas for local government have been developed by OpenDataFrance and Etalab as part of the “common local database” (Socle commun des données locales). The schemas aimed towards local governments are provided on the national platform, operated by Etalab.[25] Each schema goes through an open investigation and construction phase before official publication. Discussions take place on GitHub and are accessible to the public.[26]

d)     Set up a community open data observatory producing various summary indicators from the data collected on publication platforms:

–    Local authorities publishing information in open data format (number, type, geographic distribution)

–    Sets of open data (e.g. number, date, theme, access conditions)

–    Publication platforms (e.g. number, type, technical solutions)

–    Uses (reuse, traffic)

–    Local area coordination (stimulation of reuse and support options for local authorities)


A community open data observatory – a website providing analyses and information on the progress made by local governments towards opening up their data – was launched in 2018.[27] It publishes data annually, such as the number of local governments providing open datasets or the types of platforms used to share data. By December 2021, 715 local governments had opened up their data (21 per cent more than 2020).[28] The observatory publishes data on open data communities, datasets available, publication platforms, uses and territorial animation.[29]


 Overall this commitment is considered partially fulfilled.


Challenges to effective commitment implementation
The publication of algorithms is still an ongoing process for most French administrations and public agencies. In some instances, data is published, but the poor quality makes it impossible for civil society to use. For example, the NGO Ouvre-boîte, which advocated for the publication of the source code of the post-high-school selection platform in 2017, has recently highlighted that the data on social housing applications published by the Ministry of Housing and Sustainable Habitat[30] lacks the required quality for open data.[31]

The challenges to this commitment are the lack of technical and human resources available within the French administration. For example, a recent report points out the need for 400 new data specialist positions by 2023 in ministries and statistical services (2,000 such posts already exist).[32]

According to Etalab, the Covid-19 pandemic hindered the organisation of events and overall community animation activities. Although it brought visibility to the initiatives in the field of open data, the pandemic underlined the need for a strengthened data policy and an inter-ministry coordination mechanism.[33]


Opportunities to accelerate commitment implementation
The prime minister published a roadmap in November 2021, an opportunity for each ministry to identify the gaps and objectives for data, source code and algorithm publication.[34]

In December 2020, the public report “For a public data policy”, was released to assess the current national policy regarding data management in the French administration, and make both practical and structural recommendations.[35]

European initiatives on data impact, similar to the Open Data Maturity Index, are in place and will be an opportunity for DINUM to learn from other leading countries.[36] At the OECD level, France contributes to the OURdata index on open government data, as well as the Digital Government Index.[37] According to Etalab in 2022, the OECD survey on open government data has been completed by participating countries, and the results of the survey will offer an opportunity to share best practices.[38]


  • Follow up on the 12 recommendations from the DNUM/INSEE report on human resources – in particular, the recommendations to train existing senior managers, enlarge the recruitment field for data-oriented civil servants and provide attractive salaries.[39]
  • Ensure that the publication of data, source codes and algorithms remains a priority in the national digital transition strategy.
  • Ensure Etalab builds a consolidated registry for sources codes and algorithms published by French administrations.
  • Provide safeguards to ensure individual data privacy when making administration datahubs for individual data, and organise debates with civil society to help address concerns over the use of algorithms in citizens’ daily life, in particular involving mass surveillance.[40]


[1] French Republic, Code of relations between the public and the administration,

[2] French Republic, List of departmental data administrators,

[3] French Republic, DINUM: With digital, we are creating the public service of tomorrow,

[4] Etalab, Data, algorithms and source code policy: 15 ministerial strategies and 500 actions to accelerate,

[5] Etalab, Etalab guides,

[6] Etalab, Open source codes,; Etalab, Explain public algorithms,

[7] Ministry of Transformation and Public Service, Transforming public action and service by data: Roadmap 2021-2023 of the Ministry of Transformation and Public Service,

[8] Etalab, Launch of the 10th spring of,

[9] GitHub, Etalab : Guide des algorithmes publics,

[10] Amue, Long live Free Digital!,

[11] French Republic, Hackathon “Request for Land Values”,

[12] OGP, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): France Transitional Results Report 2018-2020: p.8,

[13] Open Data in Europe 2021, France,

[14] Etalab, Supporting administrations in the use of public algorithms,, see also

[15] Etalab, Explain public algorithms,

[16] French Republic, Ministerial roadmaps on data policy, algorithms and source codes,

[17] Etalab, Explain public algorithms,

[18] Email exchange with Etalab 8 July 2022.

[19] Open Data France,

[20] Ministry of Transformation and Public Service, Transforming public action and service by data: Roadmap 2021-2023 of the Ministry of Transformation and Public Service,

[21] French Republic, Osmose, platform of state professional communities,

[22] OGP, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): France Transitional Results Report 2018-2020: p.8,

[23] French Republic, Digital transformation of territories (TNT),

[24] Notes by Etalab: The formulation of the commitment in the OGP plan is a bad translation of the Socle commun des données locales, which is more of a catalogue of data schemas than a database. It is supported by OpenDataFrance together with Etalab.

[25] French republic, Public Data Schema Repository,

[26] GitHub, etalab/,

[27] Observatoire, Summary of the 2021 edition,

[28] OpenDataFrance, Territorial open data observatory, Edition 2021,

[29] Observatoire, The observatory,

[30] Ministry of Housing and Sustainable Habitat, Welcome to the “Statistics” section of the national social housing demand portal,

[31] Ouvre-boîte, Opening of data on social housing applications,

[32] French Republic, Report: Assessment of the state’s needs in data skills and expertise,

[33] Written statement by Etalab, shared with Transparency International for this report, 8 July 2022.

[34] French Republic, Ministerial roadmaps on data policy, algorithms and source codes,

[35] French Government, Mission Bothorel – Pour une politique publique de la donnée,

[36] European Commission, Open Data Maturity Report 2021,

[37] OECD, OECD Open, Useful and Re-usable data (OURdata) Index: 2019,

[38] Written statement by Etalab shared with Transparency International for this report, 8 July 2022.

[39] French Republic, Report: Assessment of the State’s needs in data skills and expertise,

[40] Basta !, New intelligence law: the government places the population under algorithmic surveillance,

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