Frequently Asked Questions
If you have a question that's not listed below, you can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Institutions seeking to adopt the Open Data Charter should release a high-level public statement (issued by the Head of State, Minister, Secretary, Deputy Secretary, or other appropriate official) that articulates the adoption of the ODC and defines the following four key elements:
- Appointment of a key ministry, department, or agency, including a direct individual, to serve as point of contact responsible for implementing the Open Data ODC’s principles.
- Delivery mechanism(s) through which the ODC will be operationalized by the institution. The specific activities, methodologies, tools, and processes of the mechanism(s) that will be used to deliver the ODC should be defined.
- Time-bound actions that outline specific, realistic deadlines by which progress toward implementation can be demonstrated.
- Means of verification of the specific actions that will be taken by the institution to track the progress of the ODC’s implementation.
- Send this info to email@example.com
Be inspired by our network of adopters’ letters of commitment here.
Organizations who are not governmental or intergovernmental (such as NGOs, companies, professional organizations, etc.) who wish to endorse the ODC principles may do so by sharing the following information as outlined in the steps below.
- A brief statement endorsing the Open Data Charter and activities that your organization will undertake to promote the ODC principles with your organization’s letterhead.
- Identify a key individual within the organization to act as the main point of contact for updates on the ODC: name, title, email address.
- The URL to your website and social media platforms.
- Your logo to be included on our “Endorsing Institutions” page.
Once you’ve gathered all the information and documents, you can send these to the ODC Team using this form.
The ODC is overseen by a governance structure designed to reflect our position as a trusted space that guides, connects and enables governments and organisations to deliver impact from open data.
These structures support the delivery of our mission and include a multi-stakeholder Advisory Board, with responsibilities for running the initiative and providing oversight for the performance of the ODC Network Team; and a broader group of ODC Stewards who inform the direction of the initiative, and support the delivery of the strategy.
From its inception, the ODC has collaborated with governments and expert organisations working to open up data, based on a shared set of principles. This is reflected in the governance structure that includes highly committed governments, multilaterals and civil society organizations representatives in our Advisory Board helping guide and shape the work, and a broader ODC Stewards group whose participation is central to deliver the ODC mission.
For more information, see our full Governance Structure.
While adherence to the ODC is on a non-binding, voluntary basis, and with recognition that countries are at different stages in their efforts to promote open data, it is paramount that adopting institutions uphold the principles of the ODC, so as to maintain its credibility and promote greater impact.
Institutions are eligible to become adopting parties of the ODC when they meet the requirements of the Adoption Mechanism of the ODC outlined above. Institutions will maintain their eligibility by demonstrating continuous commitment to and progress with implementation of the ODC.
Transparency and accountability are vital to promoting efficient implementation of the ODC’s principles. To demonstrate transparency and accountability, institutions should participate actively with recognized external accountability and impact evaluation mechanisms in regard to open data. In addition, they should publicly follow up on their own progress on a yearly basis.
The Measurement Guide is an analysis of the ODC principles and how they are assessed based on current open government data measurement tools – with a focus on commitments that can be measured, commitments that cannot be measured, and existing gaps (e.g. commitments that have not been measured). The Measurement Guide is made for governments, civil society, and researchers to understand how the ODC principles can be measured. It provides an analysis of the indicators, which includes comprehensive tables of global indicators (e.g. indicator tables) per each ODC principle.
In order to support widespread adoption and implementation of the ODC Principles and to develop or identify materials for inclusion in the ODC Resource Centre, there is only one ODC Working Group currently in place:
- Implementation Working Group – Develops tools and resources to support governments in the implementation of ODC principles, and promote and facilitate peer learning across signatory countries and organizations.
If you represent a government, civil society organization, private sector or multilateral working on open data and wish to participate in the ODC’s virtual working group, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ODC is an independent initiative, governed by the Stewards and Lead Stewards that make up the ODC’s Global Multi-Stakeholder Action Network. The ODC does not fall directly under the authority of any single institution or organization (it is not, for example, an OGP ODC or a UN ODC or a G20 ODC). However, the ODC does share important linkages with some key organizations and initiatives focused on open data.
Global Partnership of Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD)
The ODC complements other initiatives such as the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), and the United Nations Independent Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, as these focus specifically on the articulation and adoption of common open data principles as a vehicle for inclusive and sustainable development. The ODC also has the potential to support and align with work on open data principles that is being undertaken by the G20 (via the Anti-Corruption Working Group) and the High Level Conference of African Ministers (via the Africa Data Consensus).
Open Government Partnership (OGP)
The ODC is closely aligned with two broader initiatives that are directly represented among ODC Stewards – the Open Government Partnership (OGP, via its Open Data Working Group) and the Open Data for Development (OD4D) network. While the ODC is not directly governed by either of these initiatives, it can contribute significantly to the implementation of open data initiatives worldwide, supporting the goals of open government, sustainable development, peer learning, and capacity building for open data.
International Open Data Conference (IODC)
The ODC supports the implementation of the roadmap for open data articulated by the International Open Data Conference (IODC). The ODC was featured prominently in discussions during IODC 2015 in Ottawa, Canada. The open data principles articulated by the ODC will be essential to unlocking the value of open data worldwide, and supporting many aspects of the open data roadmap.
United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)
The Open ODC has become a member of the UNCAC Coalition in 2022 and a non-ECOSOC member of the COSP conference (Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption). Our open data for anti-corruption work has led us to become a part of institutionalized anti-corruption communities where we streamline the added value that open data can bring to this agenda.
Global Alliance for Care
ODC became a member of the Global Alliance for Care in 2022 after our first implementation of the Care Economy Indicators was completed. We became the first data organization to join this Alliance, bringing the conversation about how care economy is measured to the table.
The above is by no means a comprehensive list of all initiatives that are relevant to the ODC. As the ODC is adopted and implemented by governments around the world, the intention is that the above network of organizations and institutions focused on open data will continue to grow and linkages between these bodies will continue to be identified and strengthened.
In July 2013, G8 leaders signed the G8 Open Data Charter, which outlined a set of five core open data principles. Many nations and open government advocates welcomed the G8 Charter, but there was a general sense that the principles could be refined and improved to support broader global adoption of open data principles.
Building on these efforts, and through an open, inclusive and representative process, a number of open data champions from governments, multilateral organizations, civil society and private sector developed the International Open Data Charter (ODC).
The ODC contains 6 principles:
- Open by Default;
- Timely and Comprehensive;
- Accessible and Useable;
- Comparable and Interoperable;
- For Improved Governance and Citizen Engagement; and
- For Inclusive Development and Innovation.
The ODC builds on the G8 Charter in a number of important ways:
- It is available for adoption by all national and subnational governments;
- It promotes the comparability and interoperability of data for increased usage and impact, with an entirely new principle;
- It acknowledges global challenges such as the digital divide, and the significant opportunities of open data for inclusive development;
- It recommends standardisation (e.g. data and metadata);
- It encourages cultural change;
- It recognizes the importance of safeguarding the privacy of citizens and their right to influence the collection and use of their own personal data;
- It fosters increased engagement with citizens and civil society;
- It promotes increased focus on data literacy, training programs, and entrepreneurship; and
- It welcomes the adoption by other organizations, such as those from civil society or the private sector.
When the ODC was drafted in 2015, it was launched with a commitment to remain at the cutting-edge of developments and the highest normative standard in the field. That is why is meant to be a living document, incorporating advances in processes and principles related to open data.
For its first two years of its existence, the ODC went under minor language changes where clarity was needed. In May 2018 the ODC started the process of revising its principles led by the Implementation Working Group. After a global consultation phase (May-July 2018), an analysis and reflections phase (July-November 2018) and a consolidation and engagement phase (November 2018-April 2019), this process gathered over 600 inputs from diverse regions, 30 expert reviewers and over 60 participants in a workshop at the 2018 International Open Data Conference in Argentina.
The process confirmed that the ODC’s core principles are sound, but that threats to data openness that came to fore in a global debate are real and require a nuanced approach. While the ODC itself will not change, the Advisory Board tasked the ODC team to develop a ‘2019 Extension’ document, which will recommend actions and gather pledges from government adopters to inform their future work. We will share it soon with our network.
See more information about the #ODCrefresh process here.