Solid, practical, technical assistance must always leverage the energy and diversity of many partners. Many governmental and international agencies, civil society organizations, academic institutions, private foundations, and professional societies are already deeply committed to improving the quality and accessibility of development data. This note identifies some of the materials that Open Data Watch recommends to help develop strategic roadmaps for improving the quality and accessibility of national statistical systems.
The first step for strategic planning is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a country’s statistical system with a focus on data openness.
- An initial idea of the extent of national-level openness can be found using the Statistical Capacity Building Index developed and maintained by the World Bank.
- For the assessment itself, one can use the Quality Assessment Framework developed by Paris 21.
- The US Census Bureau has developed a comprehensive instrument to assess statistical systems with a particular emphasis on census and surveys: Tool for Assessing Statistical Capacity (TASC) version 1.0.
- Eurostat’s 2013 Guide to Statistics in European Commission Development Co-operation, pages 112-115, provides a useful review of other assessment methodologies and tools.
The next step is to develop a strategy to go from where the statistical system is now to a system which adheres to open data policies and principles. For help developing a strategic roadmap or “protocol” several sources may be used.
- The IMF General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) offers a framework for countries to improve their statistical systems. Its focus on macroeconomic and financial statistics, however, largely neglects, social statistics, data collection and archiving, and data openness.
- PARIS21 documents on the development of National Strategies for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) offer another useful framework for addressing issues of data openness. PARIS21 guidelines focus on best practices, context, access, flexibility and social responsiveness, making it clear, even when not always explicit, where data openness fits as part of overall long- and medium-term strategic planning.
- The World Bank readiness assessment tool for data openness is another useful document and is one of the core tools in the Bank’s Open Government Data Toolkit.
Not least important in developing plans for statistical capacity building and open data is costing them out carefully and identifying funding sources, whether government, bilateral or multilateral. The Paris21 PRESS (Partnership Reports on Support for Statistics)publications on donor financing is a useful review of donor activities. Sections C.6 and C.7 of the previously mentioned Guide to Statistics in European Commission Development Co-operation discusses resources for support of statistics.