Open Data in the data ecosystem

The call for a data revolution   for better quality data in support of the SDGs and many other information needs of society has raised many critical concerns including ownership and the values of transparency and accountability. In addition to knowledge, skills, resources, and technology, realizing the data revolution will entail institutional reforms in how data is produced, accessed, and used. 

In order to make data flow easier and faster from its producers to its users, corresponding measures that facilitate such flow need to be in place --- strengthened or created if wanting. The concept of open data   encompasses many of these enabling interventions. Open Data, many development stakeholders believe, is imperative in realizing the basic principle of the Agenda 2030 of ‘leaving no one behind’. Freedom to access, use, and share data not only adheres to the FPOS Principle 1 which “recognizes the obligation of national statistical offices (NSOs) to provide information to all citizens”, it also promotes people’s trust in statistics and participation in governance. 

As new data sources present viable options to improve official statistics or produce smart statistics  , some barriers to data access and sharing need to be taken down without prejudice to quality, privacy, and protection. For NSSs, to adopt Open Data means implementing Open Government Data  . However, as governments need to engage with non-government stakeholders in the wider data-ecosystem    , NSSs will need to institute more comprehensive Open Data policies and practices. Open Data should be a key feature of the modern NSS   and modern NSDS  .

Concrete actions

  • Include Open Data concept and principles in the assessment phase of the NSDS
    • Identify stakeholders and assess their data needs. Step 1.1 | Step 3.3
    • Assess current statistical output in relation to smart statistics required by stakeholders. Step 3.2
      • Identify statistics that are not available or wanting in quality due to lack of Open Data. 
    • Assess the NSS in terms of 
      • readiness (institutional resources and capacities/competencies and skills) and 
      • openness (legal framework, policies, standards, systems, and technologies) to adopt and implement Open Data. Step 3.1
        • Prioritize the NSO and data producers in priority sectors such as education, health, agriculture, macroeconomy and finance, labour and employment, prices, income, and poverty, environment, among others, in the organizational assessment.
  • Consider Open Data in the visioning for a modern NSS. Step 4.1
    • Secure high-level support on adoption of Open Data (if country has not yet subscribed to Open Data or Open Government)
    • Ensure that the NSS strategic philosophy is consistent with and supports the overall Open Data (or Open Government) policy and goals (if country is already subscribed to Open Data or Open Government)
  • Identify appropriate strategic goals and key outputs that adopt Open Data to produce smart statistics in key or priority sectors or subject-matter areas. Step 4.2
  • Identify concrete actions that implement Open Data to produce smart statistics in key or priority sectors or subject-matter areas. and corresponding costs as well as key risk factors and mitigating measures at the national, sectoral/subject-matter, and agency levels. Step 5.1 | Step 5.2 | Step 5.3
  • Establish institutional partnership mechanisms (policies, standards, and arrangements) between NSS and data ecosystem stakeholders, initially in priority sectors and/or subject-matter areas. Step 6.3
    • Coordinate with the relevant state authority on overall Open Data (or Open Government) policy and plans.
    • Consider partnerships with Big Data sources (e.g., data science firms, telecommunication companies, and other service providers) for data and technology sharing. 
    • Study and consider existing systems of civil societies including citizen-generated data.
  • Monitor and evaluate milestones and outcomes of initiatives on Open Data reforms. Step 6.4 | Step 7.2 | Step 7.3
    • Identify learnings and areas for improvement.