FAQ

How can national governments and cities adopt the Charter?

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 Open Data Charter and defines the following four key elements:

  1. Appointment of a key ministry, department, or agency, including a direct individual, to serve as point of contact responsible for implementing the Open Data Charter’s principles.
  2. Delivery mechanism(s) through which the Open Data Charter will be operationalized by the institution. The specific activities, methodologies, tools, and processes of the mechanism(s) that will be used to deliver the Open Data Charter should be defined.
  3. Time-bound actions that outline specific, realistic deadlines by which progress toward implementation can be demonstrated.
  4. Means of verification of the specific actions that will be taken by the institution to track the progress of the Charter’s implementation.
  5. Send this info to info@opendatacharter.net

 

How can nongovernmental organizations endorse the Charter?

Organizations who are not governmental or intergovernmental (such as NGOs, companies, professional organizations, etc.) who wish to endorse the Charter may do so by sharing the following information as outlined in the steps below.

  1. A brief statement endorsing the Open Data Charter and activities that your organization will undertake to promote the Charter.
  2. Identify a key individual within the organization to act as the main point of contact for updates on the Charter: name, title, email address.
  3. Send this information as an attachment on the organization’s letter head to info@opendatacharter.net.

 

What is the ODC governance model and decision-making mechanism?

The Open Data Charter 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 Charter Network Team; and a broader group of Charter Stewards who inform the direction of the initiative, and support the delivery of the strategy.

From its inception, the Charter 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 Charter Stewards group whose participation is central to deliver the Charter mission.

For more information, see our full Governance Structure.

What are the Open Data Charter accountability mechanisms?

While adherence to the Open Data Charter 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 Charter, so as to maintain its credibility and promote greater impact.

Institutions are eligible to become adopting parties of the Open Data Charter when they meet the requirements of the Adoption Mechanism of the Open Data Charter outlined above. Institutions will maintain their eligibility by demonstrating continuous commitment to and progress with implementation of the Charter.

Transparency and accountability are vital to promoting efficient implementation of the Charter’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 Charter 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 Charter principles can be measured. It provides an analysis of the indicators, which includes comprehensive tables of global indicators (e.g. indicator tables) per each Charter principle.

What is the Resource Centre?

The Resource Centre of the Open Data Charter is designed to be a searchable, interactive online toolkit which brings together a number of resources.

The Resource Centre will be an enabling tool for governments wishing to implement the Open Data Charter. It is not a comprehensive list of standards or metrics to which governments will be held accountable, but instead a repository of useful documents, links, studies, and policies that can support open data implementation anywhere in the world, as well as for all the materials produced and developed by the Charter’s Working Groups.

What are the ODC Working Groups and what do they do?

Stewards of the Charter are responsible for participating and collaborating in the development, launch, and implementation of the Charter and its supporting resources. In order to support widespread adoption and implementation of the Charter Principles and to develop or identify materials for inclusion in the Charter Resource Centre, there are two Charter Working Groups currently in place, each focusing on a particular aspect:

  1. Implementation Working Group – Develops tools and resources to support governments in the implementation of Charter principles, and promote and facilitate peer learning across signatory countries and organizations.
  2. Measurement and Accountability Working Group – Develops mechanisms to promote accountability and monitoring processes for Charter signatories and how they are dealing with the Principles’ implementation in practice.

If you represent a government, civil society organization, private sector or multilateral working on open data and wish to participate in the Open Data Charter’s working groups, please send an email to info@opendatacharter.net.

How does the ODC relate to other initiatives?

The Open Data Charter is an independent initiative, governed by the Stewards and Lead Stewards that make up the Charter’s Global Multi-Stakeholder Action Network. The Charter does not fall directly under the authority of any single institution or organization  (it is not, for example, an OGP Charter or a UN Charter or a G20 Charter). However, the Charter does share important linkages with some key organizations and initiatives focused on open data.

Global Partnership of Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD)

The Open Data Charter 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 Charter 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).

G20’s Anti Corruption Working Group

In 2014, the G20’s Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG) identified Open Data as part of the high priority areas, and mandated the development of the G20 Anti Corruption Open Data Principles.

The G20 Anti corruption Open Data Principles are closely linked to the Charter to promote interoperability and cooperation between the two initiatives, while introducing important insights and expertise from anti corruption, transparency and government integrity experts, to target the impact creation, through open data, for a specific sector.

Open Government Partnership (OGP)

The Charter is closely aligned with two broader initiatives that are directly represented among Charter Lead Stewards – the Open Government Partnership (OGP, via its Open Data Working Group) and the Open Data for Development (OD4D) network. While the Charter 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 Charter supports the implementation of the roadmap for open data articulated by the International Open Data Conference (IODC). The Charter was featured prominently in discussions during IODC 2015 in Ottawa, Canada. The open data principles articulated by the Charter will be essential to unlocking the value of open data worldwide, and supporting many aspects of the open data roadmap.

The above is by no means a comprehensive list of all initiatives that are relevant to the Charter. As the Charter 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.

What is the relation between the international Open Data Charter and G8 Charter?

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.

The International Open Data Charter contains 6 principles:

  1. Open by Default;
  2. Timely and Comprehensive;
  3. Accessible and Useable;
  4. Comparable and Interoperable;
  5. For Improved Governance and Citizen Engagement; and
  6. For Inclusive Development and Innovation.

The Open Data Charter 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.

 

How will the Charter be modified and updated over time?

When the Open Data Charter 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 Charter went under minor language changes where clarity was needed. In May 2018 the Charter 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 Charter’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 Charter itself will not change, the Advisory Board tasked the Charter 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.

How does my organization become involved as a Steward of the Open Data Charter?

Organizations interested in supporting the development and implementation of the Charter by becoming a Steward are invited to submit a letter of interest stating the organization’s involvement with open data and its commitment to the Charter principles, and identifying a point of contact within the organization.

Stewards receive frequent updates on the work of this multi-stakeholder action network and have an opportunity to contribute to the development of the Charter and accompanying documentation. Below are the currently agreed upon roles and responsibilities of Charter Stewards:

  • Champion the International Open Data Charter across your networks
  • Help further elaborate the Charter working model/guiding approach in the months ahead
  • Become active in one or more working groups
  • Mobilize additional resources through your networks where possible
  • Participate in monthly meetings (in-person or conference calls)

If you are interested in becoming a Charter Steward and taking on the roles outlined above, please submit your letter of interest via email to info@opendatacharter.net.