Five Reflections on Policy and Partnerships

ODW’s Director of Policy and Partnerships, Francesca Perucci, reflects on recent changes, trends, challenges and the potential for working collectively to use data and statistics to drive positive change.

AI and Open Data Reloaded for 2024

It seems AI is making “open data” fashionable again. Initiatives like Google Data Commons are revolutionizing how people share and access information, but open data principles must be at the core of AI in 2024.

Open Data Watch in 2023: Reflections

As we say farewell to 2023, members of the Open Data Watch team each summed up the year in just one word or phrase.

SDG 17.18.1 Measures National Capacity to Produce Sustainable Development Indicators

What is SDG Indicator 17.18.1? What does it do? Why is it important? And why did it take so long to establish this indicator?

Gender Data and Intersectionality

Data2X launches a new program on gender data and intersectionality in the context of development to answer questions about how to include certain excluded groups in measurement instruments, and how to address related legal, data governance, technical and financing issues.

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.

Open Data for SDGs Spurs Inclusive Development

Open data began as a movement to enhance transparency, accountability, and public engagement. It’s now evolved into a potent catalyst for sustainable development. As Ai reshapes societies, open data partnerships will play a pivotal role.

Welcoming Francesca Perucci to the Open Data Watch Team

Open Data Watch (ODW) is thrilled to announce the newest member of our team, Francesca Perucci, an expert in the field of development data and the advancement of global data initiatives.

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.

Charting a Course for Gender Equality: Introducing the Gender Data Compass

Through monitoring, research, and advocacy, the new Gender Data Compass offers practical, informed guidance for strengthening national gender data systems and gender equality policies. The Compass covers all 50 gender indicators of the Open Gender Data Index (OGDI).

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.

5 Lessons from Open Data Workshops in Latin America and the Caribbean

To promote national technical capacity to open and use data, Open Data Watch and the Inter-American Development Bank hosted a series of workshops in five countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Open Data Day 2023: Tracking Progress and Charting a Path Forward

Open Data Day 2023 comes at a particularly important time as wars and humanitarian crises need accessible,high-quality data to respond effectively to complex social, cultural, economic, and political issues.

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.

First Look at ODIN 2022/23 Rankings

The sixth edition of the Open Data Inventory (ODIN) is now online with results for 192 countries. ODIN assesses the coverage and openness of official statistics to identify gaps, promote open data policies, improve access, and encourage dialogue between national statistical offices (NSOs) and data users. 

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.

Open Data Watch – Our Story in 2022

As 2022 comes to a close, Open Data Watch (ODW) reflects on what has been achieved and what is left to be done to support open data for development, better data governance, fewer data gaps, and more impactful data use to improve people’s lives.worldwide — all eight billion of them.

Sharp Decline in Gender Data Funding Puts SDG 5 at Risk

Funding for gender data decreased by 55% in 2020 — nearly three times the drop in funding to data and statistics overall. But a four-part strategy to support data for SDG 5 could reverse this trend.

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.

UNGA: Investments in Gender Data

The world is behind in collecting and producing the data needed to measure gender equality, slowing progress towards achieving this critical human rights and development goal. Will UNGA act to chart a new course?

Event Series: Financing Gender Data

Investing in data ecosystems that include gender is vital to responding to pandemics, climate change, and global conflicts. But closing the gender data financing gap needs a strategy to make funding to go further in a time of scarcity.

Meet the Researchers Behind the Open Data Inventory

The growth and impact over the years of the Open Data Inventory (ODIN) would not be possible without the dedicated researchers behind it.

Three Ways to Close the Gender Data Gap

How can countries, development actors and other partners accelerate the pace to finance gender data? Research suggests three ways.

Open Data Roundtable Assesses Recent Progress and Future Risks for NSOs

The push for Open Data has made phenomenal progress in the last five years, but are there risks ahead for National Statistical Offices, data users and partner groups?

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.

Briefing: Better Measurement and Monitoring of Data for Development

Do the tools that measure the capacity and outputs of statistical systems answer compatible questions and provide consistent assessments? See this overiew of new comparative findings and recommendations.

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.

Improving Women’s Economic Empowerment and Gender Equality Indexes

A review of 20 indexes covering women’s empowerment and gender equality brings a call for new good practice standards, including transparency guidelines that spell out the assumptions or judgements behind the data and rankings.

Freeing Energy Data

Reliable, open energy data are vital to building green economies, adapting to climate change, and even, as in Ukraine, to track the impact of conflict. But the largest collection of energy data is locked behind a pay wall at the International Energy Agency. How to open?

Open Data Day 2022: Open Data to Improve the Lives of All

Without open data, informed decisions and accountability are not possible. When data are locked behind paywalls, innovation is stifled. But change is underway to improve access to data.

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.

2021: A Transformative Year for Open Data Watch

What a year 2021 has been for Open Data Watch as we navigated the pandemic, grew our team, did new research, published the 5th ODIN report, fortified partnerships and doubled-down on our commitment to high-quality, open, timely data for sustainable development.

Strengthening CRVS Systems to Improve Migration Policy

Migration is one of the most pressing issues of our time and innovation in data systems like civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) can greatly benefit both migrants and policymakers.

Five Steps to Smarter Gender Data Financing

Accessible and timely sex-disaggregated data are critical in helping policymakers understand and address the unique challenges that women and girls face. But do investments in gender statistics match their importance?

Beyond the Data Set: Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders of Gender Data

Foreign Policy’s recent “Her Power Summit” reminded us that, while mastering the complexities of gender data is crucial, it is equally important to recognize the leaders charting the course to a more data-equitable world, and the barriers they often face.

COP26: The World Needs a Better Data Strategy to Tackle Climate Change

The most climate-vulnerable regions of the world lack the adequate environment data to combat climate change. Averting a climate crisis requires a data strategy that promotes high-quality, open, and timely data across all countries.

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.

Gender Data Systems: Better Data for All

The Generation Equality Forum defined bold commitments to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment across the globe, launching a global 5-year action plan backed by $40-billion in new funding.

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).

A Year of Data Insights in the Time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the world’s attention the need for accurate and timely data to guide decisions. It has been a stress test, like no other, for statistical systems around the world. One year since ODW started tracking COVID-19 data collection and use, what have we learned?

International Women’s Day: What we know and don’t know about women

International Women’s Day is a day to note the contributions of women to the economy, society, and their families. In 2021, we call on governments, civil society, and the private sector to fill gaps in our knowledge by building statistical systems that leave no woman or girl behind.

Open Data Day 2021: Open Data in a Changed World

Today is Open Data Day! What have we learned since the last Open Data Day, during the pandemic, during this week’s UN Statistical Commission and in light of the findings of ODIN 2020/21? Where can data producers and users go from here?

Interview: First Build the Foundations

In this interview with Matt Ross of the Global Government Forum, Shaida discusses the potential for data to have a huge impact in developing countries, but warns that many nations…

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.

ODW’s Countdown to 2021: Ten numbers that defined our year

2020 did not go as planned. But Open Data Watch nevertheless continued to support the Data Revolution by advancing cutting-edge research, maximizing the impact of open data, and highlighting the need for high-quality, timely data in a time of crisis. A few highlights.

Opening Data, Closing Gender Data Gaps, and Building Back Better

As the world waits for the distribution of a vaccine and treatment options, there is a tool in our arsenal to strengthen our COVID-19 response: open data.

Podcast: DataJournalism Conversation with Shaida Badiee

This podcast by and Open Data Watch covers topics ranging from the genesis of Open Data, to monitoring tools like ODIN, to issues of transparency, susustainable development, gender equality, statistical capacity, and COVID-19.

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.

An Investment for the Ages: Financing Gender Data to Meet Pandemic and Development Needs

Investing in better data on women’s realities is a smart investment to enable effective decision-making — both for immediate pandemic response and for longer-term Sustainable Development Goals.

Three Questions to Ask about the Usability of SDG National Reporting Platforms

Monitoring several national Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) reporting platforms and portals, Open Data Watch reports a number of search and access problems and makes recommendations for potential improvements.

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.

Gender Data Must Be at the Forefront

New research reveals significant gender data gaps in the Latin America and Caribbean region.  Despite nearly 25 years of ambitious commitments to gender equality, many countries still lack the data…

Tracking Gender Data on COVID-19 – Blog #4

This fourth blog of the series examines what emerging measures of the direct impact of the pandemic on healthcare workers can tell us about the frontline capacity of countries and how it differs for men and women.

Tracking Gender Data on COVID-19 – Blog #3

This third blog of the series summarizes existing data on sex-disaggregated COVID-19 cases and deaths from Global Health 50/50, compares this to overall cases and deaths, and examines the shares that are sex-disaggregated by income and region.

A Vaccine is Not the Only Answer to COVID-19

The world’s inability to monitor and contain the spread of COVID-19 is costing trillions. With such losses, budgets are tightening. Prioritized spending is critical. Funds and hopes are now focused on the arrival of an effective vaccine. But, once again, that won’t be enough.

Learning from Coronavirus Data Use and Demand

Accurate, timely data during the coronavirus pandemic guides decisions on limiting transmission and allocating resources. But what are the drawbacks, merits, accessibility, and biases of coronavirus datasets, models and testing? What do we know about uptake of coronavirus data? What can we learn from changing demand for data?

Tracking Gender Data on COVID-19 – Blog #2

This second blog in the series summarizes the existing data on sex-disaggregated COVID-19 cases and deaths from Global Health 50/50 and asks how complete our picture is when compared to all reported cases and deaths.

Tracking Gender Data on COVID-19 – Blog #1

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting men and women differently and that gender roles shape pandemic responses. Now, thanks volunteer efforts via Global Health 50/50, new data are revealing the true impact of COVID-19 on men and women around the world.

Tracking the Gender Impacts of COVID-19

A review of international databases finds that the coronavirus pandemic is affecting men and women very differently and may exacerbate gender inequalities without a concerted effort to fill crucial gender data gaps.

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?

Open Data Day 2020: Where do we go from here?

Today is Open Data Day 2020 as well as the end of the 51st session of the United Nations Statistical Commission. It offers a good occasion to reflect on the current state of open data and what’s next.

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.

SDSN TReNDS Roundtable: Governing the Data Revolution

In this exclusive roundtable on “Governing the Data Revolution,” a selection of TReNDS Expert Members debate many of the themes featured in the recent flagship report, Counting on the World to Act.

Open Data Watch – Our Story in 2019

  In 2019, Open Data Watch (ODW) had its most eventful year yet. We expanded our efforts to provide technical assistance on open data to countries around the world. We…

A Long Way to Go for Data to Make a Difference

Countries have a long way to go before data begins to make a difference. The OGP Global Report: Democracy Beyond the Ballot Box synthesizes Open Government Partnership findings to provide comparable snapshots of all OGP members. It combines this with data published by respected partners, including Open Data Watch’s Open Data Inventory (ODIN), allowing readers to learn about their country’s progress in OGP and compare it to real-world performance in other selected dimensions.

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.

Counting on the World to Act

Counting on the World to Act, published by SDSN TReNDS, is an exceptional data report covering some specific areas of data governance that have been missing from the conversation so far, including discussion of amended laws, new data officers, the digital ecosystem, and the case for investment.

Leave No One Behind: Data Disaggregation for SDGs

A central promise of the SDGs is to leave no one behind, but current indicators measuring progress don’t keep that promise. Aggregates and averages aren’t enough to know if the needs of the poorest of the poor, women, children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups are met or slip through the cracks.

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.

#ThePowerOf CRVS for Gender Equality

More than 8,000 participants gathered in Vancouver, Canada for the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls – Women Deliver. IDRC, Data2X and ODW brought civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) into the discussions.

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?

Book Launch: The State of Open Data

A new book from the OD4D network, The State of Open Data, looks at current and future challenges facing open data advocacy and practice. The book includes a chapter on National Statistics written by Open Data Watch.  

Resources for Data: Transformative Opportunities?

Experts gathered recently in Washington to discuss an issue underpinning all other development issues – the gaps in data and statistics needed to implement Sustainable Developmentd Goals (SDGs). Effective policies to provide a better life for people require more and better data, but how to fund it?

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,…

Latest Efforts to Bridge the Gender Data Gap

As a side-event during this year’s UN Statistical Commission, Data2X, and Open Data Watch will launch a new technical report , Bridging the Gap: Mapping Gender Data Availability in Africa. In advance,the two teams sat down with GPSDD to discuss the motivation behind the project.

Open Data Watch – Our Story in 2018

2018 was a productive and busy year at Open Data Watch. We launched reports, created new partnerships while strengthening old ones, traveled the world as a champion for open data and gender data.

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.

New Look for the ODW Website

Just as the Data Revolution is constantly changing and innovating, we try to refresh the ODW website regularly to respond to changing 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.

Country Engagement Reaches New High

In step with countries announcing commitment to improve the openness of official statistics, the ODIN team has redoubled efforts to assist with identifying available datasets and to strengthen mutual understanding of the practical challenges and benefits of the assessment methodology and the resulting scores.

Oman Creates Strong Action Plan for Official Statistics

Although the research phase of the 2018/2019 assessments for the Open Data Inventory (ODIN) is already underway, countries still have time to make changes to improve their ODIN scores, as recently exemplified by the country engagement process in Oman.

Lessons Learned for Financing a Global Pact for Development Data

The UN’s Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data (CTGAP) calls for urgent action on a global pact to modernize and strengthen national statistical systems in lower-income countries where, despite being under-resourced and under-staffed, they face increasing demands from data users and increasing needs to measure SDGs.

Understanding the Value & Impact of Data

Why do investments in data remain low, despite the often cited need for high-quality data to guide policies and promote evidence-based decision making for sustainable development?

Birth Registration – A Foundation for Gender Equality

Many people take their birth certificate for granted. But in the developing world, birth registration is one of the most important events in childen’s lives.

Once upon a Statistic: Gender Data Impact Stories

The Gender Data Impact Project is gathering stories about the lives of girls and women that demonstrate a strong link between data and outcome, about the pioneers who began the conversation on the importance of unbiased gender data and about the brave champions who continue the work today.

Building Trust in Data and Statistics

In an era of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” the UN World Data Forum 2018 takes on a topic of particular relevance: building trust in data and statistics throughout the data value chain.

Open Data Watch – Our Story in 2017

Open Data Watch (ODW) – Our Story in 2017 Having just crossed the threshold of a new year, we take a moment to reflect on the previous year. We have much success to build on, and face a world where open data is more needed than ever before.

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.

Visualization for a Better Look at Gender Data

“The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see.” Data visualizations can help us discover innovative solutions, support new initiatives, and raise awareness of data gaps that impact women and girls around the world.

OECD Outlines Six Data Actions for Sustainable Development

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals hinges on harnessing evidence, technology, and data science. A new Development Co-operation Report 2017 from OECD provides a holistic view of data-driven development and identifies concrete actions to advance the job of improving the quality of data and statistics.

Making Progress towards Sustainable Agriculture

Food and agriculture are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, spanning all 17 goals and reflected in 53 indicators, but what are the key elements to measure and across what dimensions? Must data be collected at the farm level?

Ready to Measure: Phase Two Ambitions

Realizing the ambitious promises made by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – including Goal 5 on gender equality – will require a serious commitment to the collection and use of more and better gender data. Through the new “Ready to Measure: Phase II” report and gender data query tool, we aim to contribute to this.

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…

What are the principles of joined-up data?

Five practical principles can help clarify the real gap in guidance about global data interoperability – the ability to access and process data from multiple sources without losing meaning, and integrate them for mapping, visualisation, and other forms of analysis…

“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 Watch (ODW) – Our Story in 2016

2016 was an exciting year at ODW. The Open Data Inventory (ODIN) was launched. Research expanded on the quality and openness of country strategies for statistics. New or deeper partnerships were forged with countries, agencies, and many other groups. As ODW takes stock of and celebrates 2016, we look ahead with great optimism to what can be accomplished to support SDGs through the power of open data.

Breakthroughs for Open Data at UN World Data Forum

The UN World Data Forum helped create a better understanding of open data opportunities and accelerated the connections between official statisticians and open data experts. But it left some things remaining to be accomplished.

UN World Data Forum Bridges Communities of Open Data and Official Statistics

The United Nations World Data Forum in Capetown (15-18 January) marked a decisive moment in the race to harness the power of the Data Revolution in service of Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

Sustainable Funding for Statistics Off to a Slow Start

The Sustainable Development Goals place new demands on the statistical systems of developing countries, but support for building sufficient capacity is lagging behind.

Three Takeaways from IODC

Several sessions were convened at the 2016 International Open Data Conference (IODC), from Oct. 3-5 in Madrid, connecting the open data community and national statistical offices (NSOs) with the aim of fostering and strengthening linkages between them.

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.

Ready to Measure: Twenty Indicators for Monitoring SDG Gender Targets

The fundamental principle of the 2030 development agenda is to leave no one behind. Achieving real inclusion – and monitoring progress – will require a significant improvement in the availability of data.

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.

Indexes of Data Quality and Openness

This article reviews three indexes that assess the openness or quality of data produced by national governments: The Open Data Barometer (ODB), the Open Data Index (ODI), and the World Bank’s Statistical Capacity Index (SCI).

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.

Overcoming Open Data Worries

In the last five years, many national governments have announced open data initiatives, and states and cities have joined in. Releasing data openly should make governments more credible.

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.

Ending Poverty Needs Better Data

The World Bank’s recently released poverty report, Ending Extreme Poverty and Sharing Prosperity: Progress and Policies, brings news that the rate of extreme poverty in the world declined again in 2012, reaching a global average of 9.8 percent of the world’s population, although a more relevant figure places it at 15.7 percent of the population in “developing” countries.

Stuffed and Unstuffed: A Comment on Chandy & Zhang

Recently published estimates by Brookings Institution researchers Laurence Chandy and Christine Zhang of the funding needed to produce indicators for monitoring SDGs appears to demonstrate that other cost assessments are far too high. But the analysis leaves out elements and runs the risk of creating complacency over the need for serious, continuing investments in the statistical capacity of developing countries.

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.

Many Questions, Many Answers

Two questions — “What is the data revolution?” and “How is it affecting people’s lives?” — lead to many more questions. The world is generating data at an ever increasing rate. What is it good for? Who benefits? Will poor countries be left out?

A Pivotal Moment in Addis Ababa

Representatives of the international community met in Addis Ababa (12-16 July 2015) for the Third Financing for Development Conference. This meeting is a pivotal moment for the post-2015 agenda and the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development.

ODW in the News

Although our usual approach is to work quietly in the background, ODW has been asked recently for media interviews on various “open data” topics.

Costing the Data Needed for New SDGs

Developing a clear estimate for the scale of resources needed for the statistical capacity of countries to produce the needed data for the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is critical. Up to now, it has been a guessing game to a large extent, but now a team of development data experts has done a comprehensive assessment.

A Data-Driven Initiative for Gender Equality

The Clinton Foundation and the Gates Foundation are joining forces to gather data on and analyze the gains made for women and girls in the two decades since the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. The initial report – the “No Ceilings Full Participation Report” – comes out today at a major event in New York City.

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.

Open Data from the Ground Up

The call for open data has been closely linked with the global advocacy campaign for good governance founded upon the principles of transparency and accountability. Starting in North America and Europe and now spreading to developing economies, country after country has announced open data policies, mined archives for releasable data sets, and remade websites to highlight data releases.

Better go mobile!

If you are developing Open Data applications, best to keep in mind the growing mobile market. While you may think your clients are still sitting behind desktop machines or balancing laptops on their knees, there may also be lots of data hungry mobile users who should not be neglected.

Co-founders’ Welcoming Blog

Welcome to the Open Data Watch (ODW) website. ODW is a new, non-profit company founded by three development data specialists. We come from different countries and backgrounds, but we share a passion for good statistics and a commitment to promoting open data across the world.

Making an Open Data site desirable

What makes an open data site special, desirable, and impressive? How relevant and useful are the data? Clearly identified and well documented? Up-to-date? Unless data are meant to be stagnant (e.g. for research), typical users want data to be very current. But are there “typical” users? Are there “best” open data formats?

Open Data for Africa

During my time as an intern at Open Data Watch, I reviewed the availability and openness of data in poor, developing countries. I wanted to get a general idea of what the data environment looks like in the developing world. I asked myself: “If I were a citizen of country X and I wanted to find data about my country, could I do so and how difficult would it be?”