19 Studies on Open Data’s Impact Worldwide

Freshly released case studies seek to provide a more nuanced understanding of the processes and factors behind the use and impact of open data worldwide. Learn more and explore them at Open Data’s Impact.

Global commitments to and enthusiasm for open data are undoubtful. No matter which event you attend, there is a special place dedicated to telling success stories around. Those usually revolve around a sequel of events with an individual or an NGO identifying a problem, reaching out to a public administration or a government, and campaigning to create a momentum around the demand to open up data which emerges from the situation. That type of stories concerns much more the sourcing of data (i.e., identifying the source and the obstacles to access) than the impact of already released data.

Thus, the predominant realisation in the past year has been that we know little about the use and impact of open data. This is true regardless of the level of penetration of open data policies in a country. Such a caveat hinders our understanding of open data’s significance in social and political development. Has open data brought about any social or economic or political transformation? If not, why? And what is its future potential? In what cases has open data been most effective? Are there any risks associated with the public release of government data? How have those risks been mitigated?

The research led by The GovLab, in collaboration with Omidyar Network, has worked to address these shortcomings by developing 19 detailed open data case studies from around the world. The case studies have been selected in a way that represents different sectors of activity, spanning various countries and continents. The initial batch of 10 case studies has been published at Open Data’s Impact; two more releases will follow in February and March.

The case studies underwent rigorous and unique open peer review process; we peer-reviewed two of the studies. The final versions of each study are available at a new custom-built repository, in machine-readable HTML as well as in PDF formats. The search can be performed based on different criteria (area of impact, sector, and region).

You can stay up-to-date by following on Twitter: @TheGovLab and the hashtag #odimpact.

Open Data's Impact resource by the GovLab. Image from the GovLab

Posted on: January 29, 2016, by : rayna