New ODW Project Underway with AidData and PARIS21 to Catalyze the USE and IMPACT of Official Statistics
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have increased the demands on national statistical agencies not only to produce more and better statistics but to also increase the use and impact of those statistics. As the development community undertakes the monitoring of the SDGs and implementation of Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data, the direction of a global strategy for modernization of statistical systems is forming. More effective data dissemination leading to increased use and impact is an essential part of this strategy. Here at Open Data Watch we asked how can we help national statistical systems meet this challenge?
We are pleased to announce that we have received a one-year grant from the Hewlett Foundation to work alongside AidData and PARIS21 to collect information on the barriers faced by national statistical offices as they seek to increase the dissemination and use of development data. The project will open a direct line of communication with NSOs to capture their perspectives on how to identify and promote data publication and dissemination practices that result in higher uptake and use of official statistics.
Leveraging the expertise of AidData, we will conduct a targeted snap poll of leaders of national statistical offices and select government ministries in low- and middle-income countries. The project will build on previous research that examines the capacity of NSOs to increase use of official statistics and whether their current approaches are working for them. The snap poll will focus on the experience of NSOs:
- What are NSO leaders’ perspectives on the use of official statistics? Who are their intended users? Who are they aiming to reach and for what purposes?
- What are the principle avenues for disseminating statistics to different groups of users inside and outside the government? Which work well, and which need to be improved?
- To what extent do technological innovations such as data portals facilitate the dissemination and delivery of official statistics, thereby increasing use and driving evidence-based policy making?
- How do NSOs currently monitor data use? What are some of the best practices, tools, and methods that could help with better monitoring of data use and increased use?
Working with PARIS21, we will complement survey data with usage statistics from national data portals or NSO websites. Employing Google Analytics and Tag Manager, this project component will develop a methodology for collecting and analyzing comparable use metrics across a wide range of portal types and design features (for example, site organization, use of visualizations, data download formats, and so forth) to identify good practices in portal design that correlate with higher use. The overarching goal is to uncover patterns of user behavior that could inform the development and design of national data portals.
The usage statistics work will be followed up with a deeper analysis through country level workshops coinciding with Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) or PARIS21 events. At the workshops, ODW will share methods used to collect usage statistics, discuss lessons learned from the exercise, and explore how the information can inform the development of national strategies for the development of statistics (NSDS) or future data dissemination plans of NSOs.
This research project is designed to provide all parties involved, including NSOs who agree to work with us, an opportunity to explore and learn together. We hope identify a number of champion NSOs in the course of the project, who would be willing to also share their learning and know-how with other, partner NSOs. The project will offer a more holistic understanding of the use of official statistics and the barriers that exist. Looking ahead, we plan to capitalize on the policy window afforded by the October 2018 Abu Dhabi World Data Forum by launching the report in advance of the forum and organizing a session or side event focused on the insights from this research. In the interim, we will take advantage of relevant meetings such as the International Open Data Conference and the UN Statistical Commission to show the work in progress and receive feedback.
We look forward to developing a better understanding of what it takes to raise the profile of official statistics, what barriers national statistical offices face as they seek to increase their dissemination, and what tools are available to assess the use and impact of data.