What next for the Open Data Charter? A welcome from our new advisory board chair

What next for the Open Data Charter? A welcome from our new advisory board chair

October 30, 2017

By Richard Stirling

Creating consensus between countries is never easy. Doing it on a brand new topic while also getting civil society and government to work together is even more difficult. The open data movement has achieved that in a few short years.

The Open Data Charter acts a a steward of the movement’s core principles:


The UK government lead in getting the principles adopted by the G8 group of countries but Canada, Mexico have worked with organisations like the Web Foundation, Open Knowledge and ILDA to take them worldwide.

Today 52 governments (17 national and 35 local/subnational) have signed up the principles. A number that will continue to grow in the coming months and years. One role of the charter organisation is to shepherd this process.

But an arguably more important role is to take the open data message to new audiences. Good, old fashioned, advocacy. To be the voice at a climate change conference talking about how open data can help the sector work together and collaborate on around a shared evidence base. The voice talking about how we should be sharing information about refugee flows, camp density, facilities, etc — to allow donors and agencies to better coordinate and help those most in need. The voice talking about how greater openness on underlying data can act as a spur to innovation as the barrier to a good idea is no longer 5 years of primary research.

At present all of these things are held as truths self evident in the open data community but are all to rarely heard in the communities who care climate change or asylum.

Our goal with the Charter is to change that.

We don’t want to leave those people excited, with nowhere to go.

We want to:

  • Take open data to new audiences;
  • Mobilise the open data community to help;
  • Drive the adoption of principles, common standards and best practice.

It is a year since the Charter organisation was created. We have taken that time to refresh our strategy and strengthen our governance. I am delighted to be the first chair of our new board. We are keen to make sure that the board can act on behalf of everyone in the movement, so my first act as chair will be to broaden out the experience and voices we have around the table. We are seeking three new board members, including at least one country and one civil society members. If you’re interested have a look here for full details.

The coming year will be an exciting one for the Charter, we look forward to working with you!