Overcoming Data Graveyards in Official Statistics:
Catalyzing Uptake and Use
Open Data Watch and SDSN TReNDS
12 September 2022
While billions of gigabytes of data are produced daily, far too often unused data pass into a “data graveyard” (Custer et al, 2017) – where they go unutilized, precluding evidence-informed decisions from being made. This is especially dangerous at a time when intersecting crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and energy and food insecurity put a premium on decision-making that incorporates the best data. Additionally, our understanding of how data is transformed into usable information for decision-making remains weak relative to the efforts to produce data, and many producers of official statistics remain unclear about how to assess data uptake and impact. In this report, SDSN TReNDS and Open Data Watch, set out to provide conceptual clarity about the challenges of improving data use and a way forward for research by sourcing best practices from countries through a survey and in-depth interviews.