The Global Data Barometer (GDB), which we refer to as “The Barometer” is a tool that seeks to measure the state of data around the world.
Our goal is to provide longitudinal data that can drive policy making, open dialogue, and further empirical research.
The GDB is a multi-dimensional and multi-layered study. You may explore and view the data globally, through thematic issues as well as on a country-level. Within the country data, you may further explore the state of data in accordance to the following pillars:
1. Governance —We surveyed the policies in place to enable a trustworthy public data ecosystem.
2. Capability — We mapped the capabilities of governments, civil society, and the private sector to collect, manage, share, and use data.
3. Data availability—We assessed the availability, openness, and features of a wide range of public datasets, seeking to understand the state of national and sub-national data
4. Use and impact—We found evidence on the extent to which data is being used to deliver social goods, meet grand challenges, and navigate risks.
You can also explore the data through two types of modules: the core modules and thematic modules.
Core modules correspond to data governance and capability, two out of four of the Barometer’s main pillars. These modules contain indicators designed to provide a country level assessment of two of the most critical issue areas for developing an effective data ecosystem. Additional indicators on governance and capability in the thematic modules complement these core modules. The other two pillars of the Barometer, availability and use and impact, are assessed through the thematic modules.
Thematic modules investigate the interaction of governance, capability, availability, and use in specific domains or public policy areas. Five thematic modules examine data for the public good related to money, property, and power; these five are organized around:
- Company information;
- Political integrity;
- Public finance;
- Public procurement.
While each of these have their own data particularities, they intersect with regard to anti-corruption, integrity, and accountability. In these thematic modules we ask a mixture of questions related to the four pillars of the Barometer.
Our other two thematic modules, climate action and health & COVID-19, are areas that are globally urgent, but often lack open and locally relevant data.
A number of our thematic modules were developed with partners who work on data in a particular sector. Our partners lent their expertise to our modules, while our survey development ensured that the data we have can be used to support governments and other stakeholders for reforms that can improve data governance, capability, availability, and use for the public good.
The Global Data Barometer was inspired by its predecessor, The Open Data Barometer. While the Open Data Barometer focused on improving the availability and impact of open dataset, the Global Data Barometer recognises a more complex landscape—one where policy must combine good governance of data with ongoing efforts to promote data re-usability, and to secure the benefits that open public data infrastructures can bring.
One of our goals is to provide policymakers, advocates, academics, journalists and people in the private sector with tools to navigate the data landscape through the four pillars or areas our study covers:
- governing data for the public good
- equipping a country to use data for the public good
- providing data for the public good
- using data for the public good
Our working definition of public good directly references these pillars, recognising that public good itself should be understood as a dynamic and democratic concept.
Data is a source of power. It can be exploited for private gain, and used to limit freedom, or it can be deployed and governed for the public good: a resource for tackling health, social and environmental challenges, enabling collaboration, driving innovation and improving accountability.
What constitutes the public good can ultimately be determined through open public debate. Different ‘publics’ may have different priorities at different times.
Ensuring that data is a resource for the public good involves a variety of interventions, depending both on the data in question, and the wider context.
We draw on established global principles, and in particular on the Sustainable Development Goals, the international human rights framework to give context to the idea of the public good used within the Global Data Barometer’s first edition.
Three key elements of the GDB set it apart:
- Our primary data collection—we work with a network of independent expert researchers across more than 100 countries and complemented with government surveys and secondary data.
- Our global lens—we work to capture insights and bright spots from across the world, and to ensure full representation of low- and middle-income countries in both the design of our methodology and the collected data.
- Our specific focus on data—we address gaps in existing work that make it difficult to assess the extent to which countries are establishing data infrastructures that can support the public good.
On this last point, our goal is to build on and extend existing work.
The value that the Global Data Barometer adds is to ask specifically about data. We answer questions about the governance, capability, availability and use of said data. Wherever possible, we take these existing studies as our starting point and then layer analysis through a data lens on top.
Anyone interested in learning about the state of data around the world.
Whether you are a data analyst, activist, or someone from either the private or public sector, if you are interested in learning which countries have the best data availability and infrastructures and which are still struggling to open crucial data to the public, you have come to the right place.
Much of the value of a multi-dimensional index like GDB is in its function as a learning device that offers us the opportunity to understand each country’s relative strengths and weaknesses in certain areas or on a thematic level.
For example, the GDB makes it possible to explore which countries have good data availability but limited capability to make use of that data; or, within GDB’s governance component, the relative strength of data protection and data-sharing policies—and whether these strike the balance required to support public good outcomes in a datified society.
We hope that the Barometer can be used and understood by many people, across all sectors. If you would like to give feedback on how this FAQ has helped you, don’t hesitate to reach out.
In partnership with our regional hubs, we have managed to collect data from over 109 countries.
Stay tuned to find out which countries…
After almost a decade since the launch of the Open Data Barometer (ODB), the new Global Data Barometer (GDB) will launch its pilot edition. The GDB builds on lessons from the ODB, but contains updates on both the topics as well as the structure of indicators.
There will be some comparability between these two studies but GDB should not be treated as a linear continuation of the ODB time series.
- The Barometer is a tool created by The Global Barometer (GDB) that measures the state of data in over 100 countries, in terms of governance, availability, capability and use for the public good. The Barometer approaches its assessment through themes which include: climate action, health and COVID-19, company information, land, political integrity, public finance and public procurement. It was designed to be open access to support use and re-use of data for research, practice, and national actions.
- The Barometer is organized around four pillars or core areas of assessment: governance, capability, availability, and use and impact.
- A standardized, often interchangeable component of a system or construction that is designed for easy assembly or flexible use.
- To learn more about the different modules we used, see FAQ question #2.
- Rather than assuming that the public good is fixed, universal and can be known in advance, we take a leaf from the work of pragmatist thought which shifts from “the public” (one public) to “publics” (many).
- In context: The Barometer seeks to delve into how data can be used and useful in relation to specific issues within many communities. We want to enable collective learning through various actors, policies, laws, capacities, practises and infrastructures involved in putting data to work. Thus, we ask “good for whom?”, “good why?”, “good when?”, “good how?” and “good in relation to what?”
- A statistical indicator is a data element that represents statistical data for a specified time, place, and other characteristics.