Open Data, accessed through a free and open Web, holds transformative potential for society. It provides a digital tool for citizens to play an active role in government – whether through enhancing transparency, highlighting inefficiencies or contributing new services and businesses that improve the lives of millions.
To realise these benefits, we must first find ways to measure progress, assess where we stand, and understand what models work best in different contexts for strategic, evidence-based decision making.
To address these knowledge gaps, the World Wide Web Foundation has been producing the Open Data Barometer (ODB) since 2013. The Barometer provides a snapshot of the state of open data around the world through an assessment, based largely on primary research, that ranks nations on three dimensions:
- Readiness to secure the benefits of open data initiatives;
- Actual levels of implementation of open data practices; and
- The social, economic and political impact of such initiatives.
The Barometer is produced on an annual basis and is recognised as one of the key tools for assessing the state of open data globally. It is used by policy makers as well as advocates worldwide and in a continuously increasing number of countries. Several Governments have been using it to benchmark their open data performance and set targets.
We are currently producing the 4th edition of the Barometer. As the Barometer grows, we recognise, now more than ever, that reflecting on the research done to date is vital.
This is why we’ve recently launched a new Expert Advisory Group: to provide guidance on the Barometer’s future and reinforce our collaborative governance approach. The group is composed of thought leaders drawn from the open data community. They are researchers and practitioners providing inputs, guidance, vision and critiques aimed at strengthening the methodology, assessment, use and application of the Barometer.
The areas we’ll focus on are:
Stronger regional approach: With an increasing base of regional partners involved in the production, engagement and advocacy processes, building the study from the regional to the global. The current group of partners include the Jakarta Open Data Lab, the Caribbean Open Institute (COI), the Latin-American Open Data Initiative (ILDA) and the Open Data Initiative in Europe and Central Asia (ODECA). We hope this approach will lead not only to improved accuracy and relevance, but also to expanded capacity and a more engaged community at the regional level.
A good balance between breadth and depth: While we keep expanding the breadth of the Barometer, with more than 110 countries in the upcoming edition (up from 92 in the current one), we are also going deeper in our assessment. In the upcoming edition we are not only completing our coverage of the International Open Data Charter Principles, but also expanding the core methodology to introduce a more in-depth assessment of the anti-corruption guidelines established by the Charter Anti-Corruption Open Data Package.
Improvement of measurement methods: Through our lead role in the Open Data Charter’s Measurement and Accountability Working Group, we are helping to develop common methods for the efficient measurement and assessment of Open Data initiatives in line with the principles of the Open Data Charter. Furthermore, we are working with Open Knowledge International in collaboration with a community of experts drawing on the strengths of the Open Data Barometer and the Global Open Data Index to propose a way for measuring the global state of open data internationally.
We’re delighted to have more interest in the Open Data Barometer than ever, and we look forward to working with the open data community to continue improving the measurement of open data readiness, implementation and impact.