Update on measuring open data. The next steps for the Open Data Charter Assessment Guide

Update on measuring open data. The next steps for the Open Data Charter Assessment Guide

December 14, 2017

By Ana Brandusescu — @anabmap (Web Foundation) and Danny Lämmerhirt — @DanLammerhirt (Open Knowledge International), co-chairs of the Measurement and Accountability Working Group of the Open Data Charter.

Measuring the publication of open data can help to highlight gaps in implementation and provides a way to hold governments to account. The Open Data Charter’s Measurement and Accountability Working Group (MAWG) brings together officials, open data practitioners, and civil society groups to work on aligning the available measurement indices to the Charter principles. The group includes the researchers behind the main open data measurements tools.

As we explained in a post in October, the group is developing an ‘Open Data Charter Assessment Guide’ that will seek to help governments and civil society understand the Charter commitments that are measurable and those that are not. The Assessment Guide will also help us better understand measurement gaps

What is the Assessment Guide and what will it do?

Our working group members analysed the Charter commitments, and how to measure each of them. In several reflection sessions our members agreed that the assessment guide must:

  • Explain how the open data measurement tools can be used to measure open data progress and help drive policy efforts and help drive policy efforts.
  • Be accessible and written in a non-technical way.
  • Eliminate the lack of transparency around existing indicator methodologies, and clearly explain how measurement tools define what counts as ‘good’ open data.
  • Reflect on where measurement gaps exist and where we lack definitions for key terms.

What we have done so far to produce the guide?

  1. Working group members contributed to a mapping exercise to understand which parts of the Charter commitments are measurable and which parts are not. The reflections also helped us to understand the extent existing measurement indices cover all of the Charter commitments.
  2. A task force made up of researchers from each of the four international open data measurement tools was setup to identify similarities, differences and gaps between these indices.

Next steps and public consultation in early 2018

We are currently working towards consolidating our initial findings and based, on the feedback provided, we will then develop a first draft of the Assessment Guide. If you are interested in following our work to date, you can read the raw data about the measurability of the Charter principles (it’s a work in progress), and the comparative mapping of the four global indicators.

We will launch a public consultation in February 2018, inviting the open data community to leave comments, propose questions to address, and share ideas about the content of the Assessment Guide. We would love to hear from civil servants, policy makers, civil society members, researchers, and anyone interested in the topic.

Getting involved

We will run a transparent and participatory process to develop the Assessment Guide. Discussions, comments and suggestions will be trackable and available to all on Google docs draft of the Guide.

We thank all the working group members for the hard work and great insights they have provided so far and look forward to a continued collaboration next year.

We want our working group to include anyone who is interested in how to measure open data. If you’re interested please send an email to the Charter’s Programme Officer Franka Vaughan: info[at]opendatacharter.org or ping us on Twitter: @opendatacharter.