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 still lack essential infrastructure that needs solid financing. Data not only improves policies and services, but has many wider benefits if open and accessible.
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 DataJournalism.com 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 needed to guide planning and monitor outcomes.
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 launched new projects on gender data and microdata. We collaborated with new partners, such as the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and engaged more national…
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 very effective in managing and publishing data on the SDGs for public accountability and transparency. Key characteristics were identified that suggest priorities and next steps.
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 solve pressing economic and social challenges must strike a balance between openness and privacy.
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, business and civil society, but also is an ideal time examine open data implementation around the world.
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.
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.
10 USES OF THE 2015 OPEN DATA INVENTORY (ODIN)
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.
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?”