Open Data Policy Guidelines » Guideline 21

Optimize methods of data collection

To optimize data quality and timeliness, disclosure regulations should take advantage of online data-collection methods. Electronic filing, also known as “e-filing,” is one method of optimizing the quality and timeliness of data collection. To avoid the inefficiencies created by paper-based filing systems, governments should require online, electronic filing so long as filers can be reasonably expected to have access to the necessary technology. Electronic filing requirements save money, make real-time disclosure possible and allow structured data to be created at the same moment information is being filed, whereas paper filings only make reuse and analysis more difficult. Electronic filing provisions should include detailed language about what constitutes a “complete” filing and what to do if the online e-filing service is down.

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