Open Data by SRF Data

Open Data by SRF Data

Organisation: SRF Data (Switzerland)

Publication Date: 03/27/2017

Size of team/newsroom:small

Description

Being part of the Swiss Public Broadcast (SRF) and publicly financed, SRF Data is dedicated to providing a real service to the public. Apart from covering news stories with data-driven explainers or uncovering misconduct or corruption through data investigations, SRF Data also publishes the large majority of code and data behind its stories. This often concerns governmental data that was either previously unpublished or that was in a format which was hard to handle for people without technical expertise. All code and data is published on the overview page https://srfdata.github.io, which leads to the respective stories and GitHub repositories. With this service, SRF Data is a major producer of open data in Switzerland - data that can be re-used and re-published by other journalists and the public, as it is licensed under Creative Commons.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

Unlike with many other news organizations, including big ones like 538.com and the NYT, each published code repository is described in great detail. The consistent use of RMarkdown and the provision of all necessary raw data allows our analysis scripts to be fully reproduced and understood by laymen. As an example of the merits of that strategy, our project "Vested Interests of Swiss Universities" can be taken. For that project, we collected side jobs of professors and sponsored professorships from each major Swiss university - a tedious process, especially because we had to bring all data to the same format. In our repository (https://github.com/srfdata/2016-04-uni-transparenz) we published the resulting database behind it, so that others can build on it. Even a year after publication, we still receive calls by journalists who want to investigate universities with our data, and we gladly redirect them to that repository. Also, alternative visualizations of the data were produced within days after the repository publication.

Technologies used for this project:

Git, GitHub, RMarkdown
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