This is the second in an occasional series of resources for background reading on corporate transparency space (see also the beneficial ownership reading list), to help new OpenCorporates staff and the wider open data community get up to speed. These are also works-in-progress, and a call for contributions; tell us what we’ve missed and what else should be covered!
What is Open Data?
Open Definition 2.1, which sets the main international standard, outlines in brief that data “is open if anyone is free to access, use, modify, and share it — subject, at most, to measures that preserve provenance and openness”.
Tracking the Impact of Open Company Data
As Becky Hogge notes in her important report on the impact of open data, tracking impact is tricky. By its nature, open data is resistant to traditional impact reporting; in part because we don’t know exactly how it is being used, and in part because the value chain is so diffuse. So, Hogge argues, outside of sweeping statements about potential, at this stage impact is largely indicated by “fragments” of stories from the ground.
Despite this methodological challenge, we think OpenCorporates has already made many tangible contributions to revealing how power runs through corporate networks. Therefore, in this part of our reading list we’ll keep track of fragments that illustrate the importance of open company data, including anti-corruption investigations, and internal and external impact reports.
External Impact Reports
- Open Data’s Impact – Open Corporates: Open Data as One Small Part of the Picture – examining OpenCorporates important role advocating for open beneficial ownership registers, from Hogge’s landmark report into the impact of Open Data in the UK [Becky Hogge, Omidyar Network]
- Open Up Guide: Using Open Data to Combat Corruption – reporting how our data was used to facilitate in Global Witness’ 2015 investigation into the Jade industry in Myanmar, and as a tool to respond to the aftermath of the Panama Papers [Open Data Charter]
- 24 months + $3000 + 1 cake: How Virginia’s Company Data Was Opened Up – A brilliant report into OpenCorporates community members two year quest to convince Virginia to open up company data [Waldo Jaquith, US Open Data]
Internal Impact Reports
Corruption Investigations and Analysis
- Spanish Industry Minister resigns, following historic data found on OpenCorporates – how open company data was used to verify José Manuel Soria’s connection with several offshore companies discovered in the Panama Papers [Chris Taggart, OpenCorporates]
- White Paper: How Open Company data was used to uncover the powerful elite benefiting from Myanmar’s multi-billion dollar jade industry – examining Global Witness’ 2015 report into corruption in Myanmar’s Jade Industry [Hera Hussain, OpenCorporates]
- Uncovering the Truth Using comprehensive data analysis – foreign investment in London property market – how OpenCorporates data showed that 90% of overseas companies owning land and property in London are based in secrecy jurisdictions [Daniella Tsar, Thomson Reuters Lab]
- Spend Network & Centre for Entrepreneurs use OpenCorporates data to reveal UK Councils spend as little as 4% with small companies [Hera Hussain, OpenCorporates]
- Reports talk of second Panama company tied to president [Beunos Aires Herald]
- Panama Papers: The Difference with Nigeria [Punch Nigeria]
- La Presse Québec investigate connections between Video Lottery Terminals and organised crime in the city [La Presse]
- Follow the Money: Who Extracts the Value of Nigerian Footballers? and how the investigation was conducted Investigation into the trafficking of [IQ4S News – 2016 CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Award Winner]
- Visualisation of Global Networks of Six Largest US Banks [OpenCorporates]
- Database of 37,000 Companies mentioned in Panama Papers, created using OpenCorporates API [The Sunday Times]
- A Billion-Dollar Bank Fraud in Moldova, and 20,000 Opaque British Corporations [Naked Capitalism]
- Revealed: Myanmar’s jade trade is run by former junta members [Wired]
- How super PAC donors hide behind shady LLCs [Sunlight Foundation]
- Fifty shades of tax avoidance, or, what are the bankers doing with our schools and hospitals?[OpenDemocracy]
- Thousands of Subsidiaries Go Missing From Bank SEC Filings [Bloomberg BNA]
- Panama Papers: Companies have been buying up flats in Glasgow’s plush west end [Glasgow Evening Times]
- Perfect Hindsight: on Breder Suasso of NZ and elsewhere, Global Transaction Services, of Hong Kong, Georgia (US) and London, mBank and Pekao Bank SA of Poland, and Ceska Sporitelna AS of the Czech Republic [Naked Capitalism]
- GT Group’s Protean Ian Taylor in the UK: Reuters’ Special Report on 43 Bedford Street, and More [Naked Capitalism]
- Deutsche Bank and a $10Bn Money Laundering Nightmare: More Context Than You Can Shake a Stick at [Naked Capitalism]