Open Up Field Guides: Methodology

There is a growing recognition among the open data community that our efforts should be focused on delivering real-world impact from efforts to publish and enable use of data. To support a move in this direction, the Open Data Charter started developing a series of “Open Up Guides” providing a step-by-step outline of how to share data with the aim of solving specific policy problems.

After successfully implementing the first of the Guides: ‘the Anticorruption Open Up Guide’ in México, we are excited to share with the open data community a methodology for anyone wishing to develop an Open Up Guide for their field. The methodology is informed by our work with real-life cases and builds on our understanding that good quality production and management of data is a prerequisite for data sharing. As stewards of the Charter, we are focused on encouraging organisations and governments of all levels to adopt a ‘publish with purpose’ approach to opening up datasets.

The approach outlined in the methodology ensures that the Guides are grounded in practical evidence while gathering learnings to make sure global norms are applicable locally. We are keen to collaborate as much possible with government officials, experts and civil society. Please get in touch if you want to work with us — info@opendatacharter.org.

Open Data Charter Measurement Guide

The Measurement Guide helps governments, civil society, and researchers to understand how to assess open data activities based on the Open Data Charter (the ‘Charter’) principles. It seeks to shed light on the often opaque and jargon-filled world of open data measurement. 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 under-
stand 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.

  • For governments, the guide summarizes the most important insights in this section, the Executive Summary.
  • For civil society and communicators, the indicator tables and our analysis provide transparency about existing measurement tools (‘Five open data assessment tools’) and what they measure. This can help civil society to oversee the progress of open data policy at a country level.
  • For researchers, the guide explains the methodology to map open data indicators against Charter commitments. The indicator tables created can be used to compare existing data measurement tools and develop new indicators.

The Measurement Guide provides insights from open data experts and members of organizations who work on open data measurement tools. Analysis of the coverage of the five leading open data measurement tools – the Open Data Barometer (ODB), Global Open Data Index (GODI), Open Data Inventory (ODIN), Open Useful Reusable Government Data (OURdata), and the European Open Data Maturity Assessment (EODMA) – reveals that only parts of Charter principle commitments, and their components, are being measured; or that some commitments could be measured in the future. However, some Charter concepts are either too broad (e.g. “high-quality data”, “usability by the widest range of users”), or lack a shared interpretation, which makes them difficult to find a common indicator.

The Measurement Guide also covers how existing indicators metrify key open data concepts.
It is important to note that not all aspects of a commitment are clearly defined. Multiple ways of measuring currently exist for some commitments. Some commitments need to be defined and measured on a country-by-country basis to incorporate local context.

The Measurement Guide is also available in a Gitbook format.

Making Cities Open by Default: Lessons from open data pioneers

City governments play a vital role in building communities where people can live, work, and play, as well as fostering resilient and sustainable development. Cities are responsible for providing basic services that most directly impact the lives of the public. There is a growing movement to give people access to the data and information that they need to hold city leaders to account for the decisions they make and the services they deliver.

For this report, the Charter and OpenNorth investigated the opportunities and challenges faced by cities improving their open data programme, and specifically the role that the Charter can play in supporting this process.

We spoke to government officials, politicians and civil society from four cities (Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg) and one province (Ontario) in Canada, as well as three international cities (Lviv – Ukraine, Buenos Aires – Argentina and Durham – US).

Open Data in Developing Countries: Phase Two

The goal of the Web Foundation’s open data research programme is clear. We want to equip policymakers and shapers with actionable insights to ensure that open data becomes a powerful tool for development, particularly in the Global South. In line with this mission, in 2014 we completed the first phase of our Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries (ODDC). This phase – ODDC1 – was an important first step, but we knew we had to go further. So, we embarked on ODDC2 – further synthesis research around common themes which arose across many of the projects. We deliberately chose not to focus on the technical aspects of open data, but rather on the social, political and legal aspects required to build a thriving open data community – one which is capable of using open data as a tool to improve the day to day lives of citizens. The results of these projects are available here.

Open Data in Developing Countries: Summary of Emerging Insight from Phase I

How can developing countries secure the full benefits of open data? What barriers are blocking greater impacts? And how can open data be implemented in ways that respond to local context, and that build on existing policy and practice of foundations?

To address questions like these, the Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries (ODDC) research network has been gathering information on open data activities across 13 different countries on three continents. Using a mixed-methods case study research, 17 local research partners have developed in-depth accounts on the supply, mediation and use of open data in diverse settings: from budget scrutiny to oversight of judicial systems.

This briefing offers 15 initial insights generated from a preliminary synthesis of this research, offered as a basis for further conversations.