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Research project: Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries

Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries is a multi-country, multi-year study led by the World Wide Web Foundation to understand how open data is being put to use in different countries and contexts across the developing world.

Worldwide, it is estimated that governments have already posted more than one million datasets on the internet. Although just a small fraction of these current datasets are from developing countries, this is rapidly changing. Through the Open Government Partnership, governments from more than 55 countries have made concrete commitments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance with a strong emphasis on open data as a means to achieve this. Yet, reliable evidence on the outcomes and impact of open data initiatives remains scarce.

This project explores how open data can foster improved governance, support citizens' rights, and promote more inclusive development through looking at the emerging impacts of existing open data projects in developing countries. This work is designed to inform the development of planned and on-going open data initiatives in the South. The project will work through a series of open data case studies in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. These case studies examine initiatives, the governance challenges they propose to address, and emerging outcomes and impacts from the application of open data in these contexts. The project is also developing cross-cutting data collection instruments and analysis approaches to help explain if and how open data is bringing change to developing countries. Finally, it is engaging with global and local policymaking and practice in order to improve developmental outcomes of these initiatives.

Project components

Project updates

Open Data & Privacy - discussion notes

On 1st August two IDRC research networks came together for a web meeting to explore Open Data and Privacy. The Privacy in the Developing World network, and the Open Data in Developing Countries network set out to explore whether open data and protecting privacy are inherently in tension, or whether the two can be complementary, and to identify particular issues that might come up around privacy and open data in the developing world.

ODDC Web Meetings: Ethical issues in open data: privacy - August 1st

As we’ve been getting the ODDC project up and running we’ve been hosting a series of web meetings with project partners to get to know each other, and to talk about research issues. In coming months we’re planning to hold thematic web meetings, focussing on different issues relevant to open data research, and that fit into our evolving research framework.

We’ll be exploring how to open up these meetings beyond the ODDC network alone, so if you are interested in taking part in any of the upcoming web meetings, please do get in touch.

Publication: Researching the emerging impacts of open data - ODDC conceptual framework

We've been working on developing the Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries project since April 2012. In that process we looked across existing literatures on open data, transparency and accountability, the economic re-use of data, and inclusion and empowerment to identify key issues that our research should address. The result is written up in the first ODDC working paper, setting out the conceptual framework guiding our work.

Network Meeting Report (April 2013)

ODDC Workshop Report

In April 2013 project leaders from the Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries (ODDC) research network gathered in London for a two ­day network meeting. The meeting was an opportunity for project leaders to get to know each other, and to explore shared research issues in understanding emerging impacts of open data.