About the State of Open Data

It’s been ten years since open data first broke onto the global stage. Over the past decade, thousands of programmes and projects around the world have worked to open data and use it to address a myriad of social and economic challenges. Meanwhile, issues related to data rights and privacy have moved to the centre of public and political discourse. As the open data movement enters a new phase in its evolution, shifting to target real-world problems and embed open data thinking into other existing or emerging communities of practice, big questions still remain. How will open data initiatives respond to new concerns about privacy, inclusion, and artificial intelligence? And what can we learn from the last decade in order to deliver impact where it is most needed? The State of Open Data brings together over 65 authors from around the world to address these questions and to take stock of the real progress made to date across sectors and around the world, uncovering the issues that will shape the future of open data in the years to come.

The Project

The State of Open Data is an ambitious 18-month research project designed to reflect on 10 years of community action and review the capacity of open data to address social and economic challenges across a variety of sectors, regions, and communities. The project has been funded by the International Research Centre with the support of the Open Data for Development (OD4D) Network. In the spirit of the OD4D Network, work on this project is intended to be transparent, inclusive, and gender balanced.

The main goal of this project is to learn in order to help shape the future of open data based on information and evidence gathered from the community. With over 65 authors, an Editorial Board, and a development methodology that allows for flexibility and community feedback, The State of Open Data - Histories and Horizons brings a myriad of perspectives to the task of reviewing the state of open data.

Project Objectives

To critically review the current state of the open data movement, assessing its progress and effectiveness in addressing challenges related to social and economic development and democratization around the world. To engage with key actors and initiatives within the open data community in order to conduct a critical reflection on the impact of open data to date and the major challenges still to be addressed. To support improved planning for future open data activities, additional research, network and partnership development, and strategic programming by stakeholders.

Key Deliverables:

  • State of Open Data Publication - To produce a flagship publication that can serve as a core reference work and stimulus for open data policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers.
  • Blogs and Presentations - To share learning as it happens and support wider community engagement on both the overall status of the project and on specific issues and themes examined by project authors.
  • Shape the discussion - Bring ideas and stimulus to events such as the International Open Data Conference (IODC) and other global and regional discussion venues.

About the Editors

Tim Davies is an activist, researcher, and social entrepreneur, who has been working on themes related to open data since 2009. He was Research Lead for the first two years of the IDRC/World Wide Web Foundation’s “Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries” research network and coordinated the first two editions of the global Open Data Barometer. He co-founded Open Data Services Co-op in 2015 to support ongoing development of open data infrastructures, including the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) and data standards for corporate transparency. He was series editor for the Open Data Charter Open-Up Guides on anti-corruption and agriculture. A social researcher by training, Tim has been a fellow of the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society and has studied at the Oxford Internet Institute and University of Southampton Web Science Centre. He blogs at http://www.timdavies.org.uk and tweets at https://www.twitter.com/timdavies.

Stephen B. Walker is the former Director General responsible for leading open government and open data for the Government of Canada, where he developed and implemented national policies, programmes, and infrastructure to advance open data. At the international level, Steve was directly involved in the development of the G8 Open Data Charter as well as the Open Data Charter. He also chaired the Open Government Partnership’s Working Group on Open Data. More recently, Steve has worked with the Open Data for Development (OD4D) network and managed the International Open Data Conference. Steve also runs his own consulting company, True North Consulting, specialising in advancing open data and transparency policies and practices. Steve tweets infrequently at https://www.twitter.com/sbwalker61.

Mor Rubinstein is an open data practitioner with more than ten years of experience. She was a Community Coordinator and the Lead Researcher for Open Knowledge International’s Global Open Data Index. She is currently the Labs Manager for 360Giving, a UK initiative for opening up philanthropic grants data for better grant-making. She is also the co-founder and coordinator of the Open Heroines community, a global community for women in open data, open government, and civic tech. She holds a Master of Science in Social Science of the Internet from the Oxford Internet Institute. You can follow her on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/morchickit.

Fernando Perini is a Senior Programme Specialist at Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), where he coordinates the Open Data for Development (OD4D) programme. OD4D is a global partnership that supports southern leadership and locally led data ecosystems around the world as a way to spur positive social change and sustainable development. You can follow Fernando on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/fperini.