A wide range of data challenges and issues face organizations working to monitor and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Some organizations work to improve development data in a particular sector or help build country capacity to produce and use these data. Others encounter data challenges as they work on other development issues. And some want to adapt their expertise to address development data issues but aren’t familiar with the data ecosystem or capacities of other organizations. National statistical offices and other data producers face a different set of challenges. How can they meet the monitoring and reporting demands of the SDGs? Should they adopt new methods of data collection and analysis? How reliable are citizen-generated data? Or big data estimates? And who are reliable partners? What are the gaps in the available data?

Our unique knowledge of development data allows us to support these organizations and help them overcome barriers and challenges. We serve as the technical data group for Data2X, supporting them through a several initiatives related to gender data. We also collaborate with many of our other partners on technical data issues.


The data value chain is a framework prepared for Data2X by Open Data Watch to help visualize the life cycle of data from collection to impact. It can serve as a management tool to monitor and evaluate the data production process or as a teaching tool to better recognize and understand the complex steps from data creation to use. The framework helps identify impediments to achieving data impacts and helps focus attention on areas of need. While the data value chain was motivated by research on collecting and documenting gender data impact stories, the concept applies to development data more broadly.

As the visualization below shows, the data value chain includes four major stages: collection, publication, uptake, and impact. These four stages are further separated into twelve steps: identify, collect, process, analyze, release, disseminate, connect, incentivize, influence, use, change, and reuse. Throughout the process, from one end of the value chain to another and back again, there should be constant feedback between producers and stakeholders. This visualization (click to enlarge) is free for anyone to use and reuse.


Image – CC BY 4.0 International license – use with Attribution


Our joint report with Data2X, The Data Value Chain: Production to Impact, provides an overview of the data value chain as a framework. It explains each of the stages and the steps within each one. The report also includes real-world examples of gender data that illustrate each stage of the data value chain.


The Data Site Evaluation Toolkit (DSET) is designed to be a comprehensive approach to identify the elements of a well-functioning and open data site. The intention is not to dictate which characteristics a data site should have but to outline some of the elements of open data, technical functionality, and dissemination strategies that should be considered when creating or managing a data site. The DSET has been used to evaluate the World Bank Data Bank, International Labor Organization’s ILOSTAT, and national statistical office websites to improve their usability, openness, and technical functionality. The Toolkit has also been used in an evaluation with the World Bank of 22 data portals in Nepal to analyze common issues a user might encounter when accessing, finding, and using data in Nepal. The DSET currently in its piloting stage and is not available online but please contact Open Data Watch if you would like more information on the DSET or assistance with an evaluation


The R2M Gender Data Query Tool, a joint product with Data2X, is an accompaniment to the Ready to Measure Phase II: Indicators Available to Monitor SDG Gender Targets. While measuring and monitoring the gender-related indicators in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may be difficult, this project shows that there is a solid starting-point. Using the data query tool, users can access data for 20 indicators to begin measuring gender equality for the SDGs. The tool is a result of compiling data from eight different international sources into one searchable database.


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.

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?

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.