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Open Data in Developing Countries: Phase Two

July 27, 2015

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 below.

CountriesProjectPartner(s) / Author(s)InformationPublications
Open data and sub-national governments: Lessons from developing countriesSatyarupa Shekhar,
Michael Caňares
The local level is where much government data is collected and stored, where there is strong
likelyhood that data will be published, and where data can generate the most impact when used. This synthesis paper seeks to refocus the discussion of open government data in sub-national contexts by analyzing nine country papers produced through the
Open Data in Developing Countries research project.
GlobalOpen data intermediaries in developing countriesFrançois van Schalkwyk,
Michael Caňares,
Sumandro Chattapadhyay,
Alexander Andrason
This research paper offers a nuanced approach to open data intermediaries using the theoretical framework of Bourdieu’s social model, in particular, his concept of species of capital as informing social interaction. The study is based on the analysis of a sample of cases from the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries Project (ODDC) project. RESEARCH PAPER
GlobalUnderstanding two mechanisms for accessing government information and data around the worldSilvana FumegaThis report is predicated on the idea that we may have greater success in transparency efforts if we try to build on what we already know about two fundamental components of openness and transparency: Freedom of Information (FOI) and Open Government Data (OGD), as both concepts refer to a certain quality, which lift the veil of secrecy, when referring to political systems.REPORT
South Africa
Embedding open data practice developing indicators on the institutionalisation of open data practice in two African governmentsFrançois van Schalkwyk,
Michelle Willmers,
Tobias Schonwetter
This research report undertook a comparison of open government data approaches in South Africa and Kenya, with a particular focus on open licensing as a key indicator of openness.RESEARCH REPORT

We hope that by sharing the insights from these projects, we can build on the body of knowledge on how open data impacts developing countries and how we can make sure we see the biggest impact from it. This is a tall order, so we are excited to share that we will be continuing our work with a third phase that builds on our academic research to carry out testing and innovation.

Results from ODDC phases one and three of the ODDC project are now also available.

This project is supported by the Open Data for Development (OD4D) program, a partnership funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the World Bank, United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), and Global Affairs Canada (GAC).