by Jamison Crowell
The research phase of the 2018/2019 assessments for the Open Data Inventory (ODIN) has begun, but countries still have time to make changes to improve their scores. Changes made to improve the coverage and openness of their data can register in the current ODIN assessment until the cut-off point on 31 August, after which all assessments will be finalized. Some countries have even developed an action plan in consultation with Open Data Watch (ODW). Oman’s National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI) is the most recent example.
At the invitation of the Sultanate of Oman, Open Data Watch conducted a two-day workshop on 15-16 May with the NCSI. The workshop included multiple sessions on the basics of open data, the benefits to implementing open data, and how to overcome challenges. Breakout sessions explored technical issues unique to Oman, such as identifying categorical data gaps and addressing how to improve their data portal and increase usability.
During the workshop, many improvements were implemented. For example, during the workshop, several datasets were added that were identified as being available elsewhere, but not yet uploaded to the portal. Additionally, adjustments to portal features to increase accessibility were discussed and development was begun. These improvements to the accessibility of the data should directly impact scores for data openness. By the end of workshop, ODW and NCSI created an action plan of activities to increase both the coverage and openness of their data, highlighting in particular some near-term changes that could be completed before the end of the ODIN 2018/2019 research period.
ODW has also provided technical advice to other countries, such as Jamaica and Ecuador. In each case, these engagements began with their participation in ODIN’s NSO review process. This phase of research introduces governments to what is needed for a complete and open set of official statistics and improves the process by allowing submission of additional data sources that were not included in the preliminary assessment.
In the ODIN 2018/2019 round, there are currently 96 participating governments. We look forward to more countries, as in the case of Oman, seeking such productive engagements.