Methodology

Introduction

The Arachnys Compass is the product of a year’s research and analysis by Arachnys' data research team.

We have opened up a selection of key online resources from our database of more than 16,000 information sources worldwide in order to paint a picture of global public data provision and to help independent investigators to understand what information can be found on companies and individuals across the world.

For the first time, the tool goes beyond an aggregated measure of data quality on a country-by-country basis and allows users to answer questions on whether specific information – including company director names, local court records or the identity of shareholders – is accessible, where they can be found and what restrictions there are on access.

Calculation of scores

While the primary function of Compass is as a reference tool for investigators to check what information can be sourced worldwide, we have also developed a scoring metric to allow comparison and ranking between countries.

In general, countries will receive a higher scores where:

  • more categories of information is available on entities or from courts;
  • coverage is comprehensive; and
  • data can be accessed without needing to pay or register

The overall Arachnys Compass score is an average of the scores on three main categories: News, Corporate and Litigation. The methodology for calculating these individual scores is described below. The metric necessarily makes some subjective choices as to how to value different categories of data, and how to penalise services for access restrictions, but this enabled us to judge all countries by the same criteria and construct a more inclusive index than many other global rankings.

Category scores

News

Media sources are a key provider of compliance-relevant business information. Our news score is a measure of the size of a country's news market. This is calculated based on the number of news titles in the country relative to the size of the population. While reliable news is still primarily found in traditional newspapers and broadcast platforms, we also keep on top of the higher-quality online-only titles and citizen journalism outlets that, increasingly, provide critical angles in areas neglected by mainstream media.

Unlike the corporate and litigation scores, the news score is simply a quantitative measure based on the number of titles: the researchers have made no judgment on the quality of the content of the individual news sources or on the media environment of the country in question. We judged that other global indexes already adequately address this issue.

In order to avoid penalising highly populated countries too much, we take the logarithm of the number of news titles and the population size before dividing the former by the latter. This value was then normalised onto a scale from 0-100 that encompasses the full range of countries.

Corporate

Corporate information forms a fundamental part of any business investigation. We measured the corporate data availability in a country by making a qualitative assessment of four official sources: corporate registries, stock exchanges, chambers of commerce, and government gazettes.

We looked at access to eight data categories from public data sources:

Business name
Registration number
Status
Contact details
Director names
Shareholder names
Capital information
Other information

A 100% score corresponds to access to all eight data categories in a comprehensive, centralised registry (or, in countries where company registration is at a state or provincial level, access to all eight categories across the five largest states). Each data category is scored equally. Scores are weighted if there are restrictions to open access (see below) and data sources other than corporate registries are weighted by 0.5.

Litigation

Litigation records are vital red flag sources for investigators, sometimes throwing up information about a company's internal workings which may not be available elsewhere. We made a qualitative assessment of available legal sources, such as court websites, bar associations and third party case law repositories such as WorldLII.

For court records, we considered the following properties:

Published records are comprehensive (rather than only cases of special interest)
Parties involved are named in case records (except for children and domestic violence cases)

Records are published in full text (awarded 2 points)
Records are published as summaries only (awarded 1 point)

The online archive has at least 5 years of records (awarded 2 points)
The online archive has at least 3 years of records (awarded 1 point)

The overall country score in litigation is made up of four components:

  • First instance courts, including Supreme Court
  • Courts of appeal
  • Specialist courts, such as Administrative, Military or Labour courts
  • District or local courts

Each component contributes 25% of the total score and the score for each component is the mean score for each court type evaluated in that category.

Access restrictions

Individual datapoint scores are weighted depending on whether or not access is open to all users or if there are restrictions. These include needing to register for a login, needing to pay for access to information or restricting services to classes of individuals, such as only users with a national ID number, or qualified individuals such as lawyers or government employees. As we are comparing online access to data, we do not award scores to sources where records need to be ordered by correspondence, but we do include these in the source listings for a country.

Restriction Weighting
None 1.0
Login needed 0.75
Payment needed 0.5
Restricted to nationals or qualified individuals 0.25
Contact source for information 0.0

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