Gender Equality through Smart Data Investments

At the halfway point of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it’s time to shift focus from persistent challenges to promising opportunities in the realm of gender equality. It is a truly exceptional moment to invest in gender data.

Unlock the Data Dividend for the SDGs!

A Who’s-Who of leading civil society and data for development organizations, including ODW, have signed a letter that calls on world leaders to harness the power of data and unlock the data dividend for the SDGs.

Four Steps to Power SDGs with Gender Data

When 44 countries report on SDG progress at the UN’s High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) this week, it is an opportunity to mainstream gender data as a way to power long-lasting change through four actions.

Open Data Matters: Spurring Data Use and Impact in Malaysia

Allowing Malaysia to analyze, absorb, and share new information released by various parties, open data is now a core tool for improving the use, sharing, and impact of government data.

Bringing NSOs’ Existing Strengths to Data Stewardship

Data stewardship presents challenges for National Statistical Offices, but NSOs also start from points of strength — like experience with fundamental principles, rigorous data definitions and standards, and a strong peer network — that are real assets for effective data stewardship.

Open Data Matters: Generating Major Benefits in Mexico

Mexico is finding that open data is a strategic resource with major transformative impacts at every level. Its Open Infrastructure initiative, so far involving 23 institutions and 55 organizations, is a prime example.

UNWDF: Advancing Data Use and Overcoming Data Graveyards

As our rate of data production grows exponentially, gaining insight into the needs of users of official statistics is key for countries and was a hot topic in World Data Forum discussions on data graveyards and institutional barriers to effective data use

Open Data Watch at the 2023 UN World Data Forum

Don’t miss the events that Open Data Watch is co-hosting or speaking at during the 2023 UN World Data Forum in Hangzhou. Topics span a broad range — Data in the Care Economy, Data Graveyards, Gender Data, Data & Misinformation, and Data for the Public Good and Achieving SDGs.

Open Data Matters: Getting Back to Basics

Official statistics face many challenges, but let’s not forget the basics. Open data is one that provides a foundation to ensure data are available for all to use and reuse. It cuts across the whole data value chain, from transparent methodologies to tracking data uptake and use.

Open Data Matters: Palestine’s Path Towards Progress

The Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) recognizes the many benefits of open data — for performance, transparency, economic growth, innovative services, new business models, and measuring and monitoring progress toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mexico Expands Data Use with Improved Governance and User Engagement

This case study looks at how laws granting autonomy to the statistical office have helped significantly advance data use in Mexico through better management and active engagement with data users.

UK Identifies User Needs to Improve Data Use

This case study looks at how data use of official statistics in the U.K. is promoted through a steadfast commitment to meeting users’ needs based on analysis of data use demands, data literacy training, and engagment with dedicated user and expert groups.

Farewell to ODW’s Visiting Statistician

ODW’s first Visiting Statistician, Luis Gonzalez Morales, reflects on his sabbatical experience while at Open Data Watch and as he returns to the UN Statistics Division.

Philippines Centralizes Data Governance to Improve Data Use

This case study looks at how the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) successfully centralized the data governance of major national statistical agencies to ensure that datasets are better tuned to user needs and can be efficiently used for policy and planning purposes.

Colombia’s DANE Adopts Inclusive Data Approach

This case study looks at how Colombia’s National Statistics Office (DANE) captures several new data dimensions to improve the visibility of minority groups in national statistics through inclusive, disaggregated data.

Climate Change Data: Playing by the Paris Rulebook

To make progress on climate change, countries need to know how to measure their goals and spur innovation in both the collection and use of climate change data.

Meet ODW’s Visiting Statistician

Open Data Watch is pleased to welcome our first Visiting Statistician, Luis Gonzalez Morales, who joins us from the United Nations Statistics Division.

Report: Overcoming Data Graveyards in Official Statistics

Billions of gigabytes of data are produced daily, but valuable data often pass into “data graveyards” — lost when most needed for evidence-informed decisions on pandemics, climate change, and energy and food insecurity. This report finds best practices to improve data use and impact.

Data Portals: Steps towards an Integrated Digital Strategy

Data portals are a primary gateway for evidence-based decision-making, monitoring, fact checking, and reporting. But not all portals have the upstream data management needed to assure coverage, access and use.

The Power of Networks: Gender Data in Africa

As shown by the Gender Data Network in Africa, knowledge exchange between countries is key to addressing capacity, funding, and other challenges to have data needed to reach SDGs.

Webinar Urges NSO Data Use for Fact-Checking

This webinar identifies obstacles and opportunities of using official statistics data for fact-checking and outlines a cooperative strategy to curb the spread of misinformation.

ODIN 2022/23 Coming Soon

The upcoming Open Data Inventory, ODIN 2022/23, will include new updates that expand its global coverage from 187 to 194 countries and reinforces the importance of gender data in countries’ statistical systems.

Moving from Data Production to Impact: The Role of the NSO

A UN Statistical Commission event, “Moving from Data Production to Impact” discusses the role of NSOs in facilitating greater data use and avoiding “data graveyards.”

The Power of Open Data: Moving from Concept to Action

A UN Statistical Commission event, “The Power of Open Data: Moving from Concept to Action,” reports on the latest best practices for NSOs to implement open data, including “Open Data by Default,” Interoperability, and local-level data sharing that safeguards confidentiality and privacy.

UN World Data Forum 2021: Moving from “What” to “How”

The UN World Data Forum 2021 was the first major opportunity since the pandemic for development data experts and users to assess the lessons and impact of COVID-19 on Sustainable Development Goals. Four main takeaways show a move from “what” to “how” data can be used to achieve SDGs.

Defining Data Stewardship

A clear definition of data stewardship can help build a common understanding about what it takes to establish a system of resilient data governance built on strong partnerships and effective safeguards to balance data sharing and data privacy.

Find ODW at the World Data Forum!

The UN World Data Forum 2021 gathers data experts and users from governments, civil society, the private sector, donors, international and regional agencies, the geospatial community, the media, academia, and professional bodies to spur data innovation and mobilize high-level support for better data for sustainable development.

Compendium of Good Practices: Harnessing CRVS in Conflict, Emergencies and Fragile Settings

This 12-paper Compendium presents research, case studies and best practices for building effective CRVS systems in conflict, emergency, and fragile contexts such as natural disasters or health emergencies like COVID-19. Watch the launch event (14 April).

Countries Share Success Stories using ODIN

Country representatives gather to discuss the 2020/21 ODIN Open Data Inventory Annual Report and to share success stories, challenges and experiences in implementing open data to promote environmental, social and economic progress in their countries.

Why financing data matters more than ever

We face a paradox: the world runs on data, but even simple statistics to guide policy-makers are often nowhere to be found. Investing in statistics today is investing in our ability to respond diligently, rapidly, and appropriately tomorrow.

Shining a Spotlight on the Power of Statistics – World Statistics Day

We rely on statistics for everything from forecasting the weather to monitoring economies and pandemics. This World Statistics Day, Open Data Watch highlights the most critical statistics from our areas of work and where we can improve.

ODIN Website to Get Major Overhaul in 2020

In anticipation of the research results later this year for the 2020 Open Data Inventory (ODIN), the ODIN website will get major updates based on a survey of user experiences and needs. View first round feedback and add your own.

Is Open Data at Odds with Citizens’ Privacy

Countries and citizens benefit greatly from opening official data for public use. But as governments collect more microdata about their citizens, how can data be released in a way that balances the right to public information with the right to privacy?

ODIN 2020 – New Indicators & Updates

In April 2020, Open Data Watch commences the 5th Open Data Inventory (ODIN). The updated ODIN will feature much of the same features from previous editions with a few key updates.

Data Deprivation: Progress Has Stalled

At a moment when everyone talks about gushing big data, it may seem contrarian to say the world is short of data. But a look at NSO websites or the database of SDG indicators shows many gaps. The median coverage score of the 178 countries in ODIN is only 44 percent. This blog moves from general to specific, looking at data crucial to monitoring the first SDG goal: eradicating poverty.

Supporting Global Efforts to Strengthen CRVS

In support of good practices to strengthen civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS), the authors of a paper in the latest Knowledge Brief have created a reference guide identifying key gender barriers to registration of birth and deaths, and mapping supply-side issues to needed demand-side research.

Is Website Downtime a Barrier to Open Data?

It is a serious problem for data users when critical official datasets cannot be accessed because an NSO website is offline.  How do NSOs compare to businesses that work hard to ensure constant uptime for their websites and what lessons can be learned?

SDG Reporting Platforms Show New Progress & Priorities

National reporting platforms (NRPs) are showing progress in accessibility, usability, interoperability and openness, according to a new study by ODW and CODE. The 36 NRPs analyzed were found to be…

ODW Brief Tackles Public Data Sharing Approaches

Data have new significance, due to sheer volume and importance for decision making. Calls to make publicly-produced data freely available are increasing in step. But the potential of data to…

Open Data Day Takes Stock of Progress

The 9th annual celebration of Open Data Day on 2 March is not only an opportunity to highlight the benefits of open data and encourage open data policies by governments,…

Marriage & Divorce Certificates for Women’s Empowerment

When vital life events – such as births, deaths, marriages, and divorces – are systemabtically recorded in CRVS systems, they provide proof of identity and legal status that are particularly beneficial to women and girls. They also provide sex-disaggregated demographic data for better policies and planning.

World Data Forum: Catalyzing the Use of Official Statistics

A two-part research project on NSO data use was presented at the World Data Forum. One part seeks to understand perceptions of data use through snap polls. The other looks at potential ways to measure actual data use.

IODC 2018: New Perspectives, Finding Common Ground, Listening & Learning

For the International Open Data Conference (IODC) in Buenos Aires, where the focus is on a key action item of the Cape Town Global Action Plan and a related report to the UN Statistical Commission — Open Data — the ODW team arrives with three main goals.

World Data Forum Preview: Catalyzing the Use & Impact of Official Statistics for SDGs

A new collaborative research study to be presented to the October 2018 World Data Forum in Dubai finds potential ways to innovate and modernize national statistical systems to catalyze the use and impact of official statistics for sustainable development.

Catalyzing the USE and IMPACT of Official Statistics

A new ODW project with AidData and PARIS21 seeks to collect information on the barriers faced by National Statistical Offices as they respond to increased demands to produce more and better statistics and increase the use and impact of those statistics.

What it takes to build a strong partnership on statistics

Paris in spring, the backdrop for this year’s PARIS21 Board Meeting, offers a fitting time for this long-time “observer” to reflect on what has changed in the 17 years since PARIS21…

“It’s Not Just About Bragging Rights”

When Open Data Watch began work on ODIN, we asked ourselves, “Does the world need another index?” We recognized the tendency for indexes to be glanced at to see who’s on top, and then forgotten.

Open Data Inventory 2016

The 2016 Open Data Inventory (ODIN) provides a comprehensive review of the coverage and openness of official statistics in 173 countries around the world, including most OECD countries. It features a methodology updated to reflect the latest international open data standards.

Strengthening Engagement with Indigenous Peoples for Better Statistics

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) refer explicitly to indigenous people in two places (Goal 2 and Goal 4), but to meet the SDGs commitment to leave no one behind, data are needed that go beyond tracking gender and age to identify all vulnerable groups, including indigenous peoples.

Open Data Inventory 2016 is Underway

After the positive reception of ODIN 2015, ODW is pleased to announce that work has begun on the 2016 Open Data Inventory. See what’s new and improved in ODIN 2016.

Civil Registration and Vital Statistics: Data Gaps and Possible Solutions

Accurate and open data are a catalyst for action. Data gaps limit the ability to harness such impact. Many have their origin in civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems that fail to record births, deaths, marriages, and divorces.

What Makes an Effective National Statistical Office Website?

National Statistical Office websites are the vital connection between data producers and users. There is no single, correct design, but providing open access to reliable data to the widest range of data users is essential.


The purpose of data is to inform and catalyze action. The Open Data Inventory (ODIN) assesses the coverage and openness of official statistics in 125 countries and 20 data categories. The ODIN scores allow for a multitude of applications that can generate insights in many topical and regional areas of interest.

Lessons from the 2015 Open Data Inventory

The recently released 2015 Open Data Inventory (ODIN) assessed the openness and coverage of official statistics for 125 countries in 20 data categories. Only 7% of the categories got full points for data coverage, and no category in any country got full points for data openness. But there are ways National Statistical Offices (NSOs) can readily improve this.

DQI: Measuring Data Quality or Income?

World Economics has released a Data Quality Index (DQI), rating the quality of GDP estimates for 154 countries. The DQI is presented as a “new way to judge which countries (sic) GDP you can trust.” Therefore, it is striking, and perhaps ironic, that the DQI depends heavily on GDP.

Modernizing NSDS to Open Data

The landmark report by the Independent Expert Advisory Group to the United Nations Secretary General — A World That Counts: Mobilizing the data revolution for sustainable development — spotlights the increasing demands and opportunities for national statistical systems.

Toward a Global Program for Data Quality

The past two decades have seen efforts on multiple fronts to improve the quality and availability of what we will call development data: the statistical information needed for planning, monitoring, and assessing the social and economic development of a country.

Strategic Planning Resources for National Statistical Systems

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.

How Open Are Official Statistics?

Official statistics provide an indispensable element in the information system of a democratic society, serving the Government, the economy and the public with data about the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation.

How well do partnerships for statistics work?

In Addis Ababa, donors pledged $5 million to support the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. This partnership could play a major role in helping countries revolutionize data production and use.

Towards a Complete Civil Registration & Vital Statistics System in Africa

Millions of people in Africa are denied basic services because of deficient CRVS and national identification systems. Lacking records of their birth and civil status, they are excluded from health coverage, schooling, social protection programs, and humanitarian response in emergencies and conflicts. This can change.