The first edition of the Open Data Barometer (ODB) was first launched in 2013, providing a global snapshot of how countries around the world were engaging with open data.

The ODB was based around three areas:

  • Readiness
  • Implementation; and
  • Impact

and it was able to explore relationships between civil society capacity, government policy, and private sector readiness for open data, and the actual publication and use of open data.

In the six years that have followed, global debates around data have developed substantially. When the ODB was first created, privacy and responsible data use were rarely on the agenda, and few, if any, countries were talking about the role of data within their national Artificial Intelligence strategies. Open data was thought of mostly in terms of open government data, and discussions of data collaboratives and data trusts were a few years off.

However, the ODB was able, over five editions, to support academic research, government target setting, and all sorts of analysis and discussion about open data policies and practices. Alongside the grassroots Open Data Index, it offered a valuable tool for advocacy and action.

Yet – the last edition of the ODB was in 2017, and, as the recent State of Open Data book explores, it’s time to embed open data work both within a wider framework of data policy, and as a tool for sector-by-sector problem solving.

So – at the Open Government Partnership Summit in Ottawa in May 2019, we started to think about a next iteration study – looking at the broader data landscape, and developing a Global Data Barometer that goes beyond open data alone, to look at different facets of data availability and use.

Our goal is to produce an updated study that builds on the best of the Barometer, with its country-level survey drawing on expert assessments, and its combination of quantitative evaluation and qualitative data, but that includes a refreshed set of indicators taking into account:

  • Data from across the data spectrum. Tracking open, shared and closed datasets in order to better understand how different data access regimes affect data use and impacts.
  • Sectoral data policies and practices. Digging deeper into the specific policies around data in key areas such as health, procurement, budget transparency, transit and money in politics. Exploring both transparency policies, and policies for data protection and responsible data use.
  • Data from the private sector and civil society. Looking beyond government data alone, to understand the spread of data collaboratives, data trusts, and other data sharing arrangements.
  • New patterns of data re-use. Including government, civil society and private sector capacity for, and use of, algorithmic systems and artificial intelligence.

Over late 2019 we’re working on an updated research framework, with a view to consulting on study design early next year.

If you want to find out more or get involved, contact study convener, Tim Davies (tim@practicalparticipation.co.uk) for more details.