• The UN Secretary General's Independent Expert Advisory Group
  • on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development
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Accessible Data: open data, accountability and data literacy

The consultation has ended and comments are closed.

If improvements in data are to lead to changes in peoples’ lives, then data must be accessible and able to be used. Governments need data for planning and monitoring what they do, and people need data to hold those governments, and other institutions, to account.

justgrimes - data literacy

This needs change in three areas:

  • creating norms, incentives and regulations to encourage and require the owners of data to make it publicly available, in ways that are useful to all potential users
  • increasing data literacy so that more people are able to use and interpret data
  • innovations in how, when and what data is collected and shared so that it is up to date, disaggregated and relevant to the concerns of people and policy makers

Campaigners for open and transparent data have been successful in persuading many governments and non-profits to open up their data and make it available in ways that data sets can be easily used.

There are many good examples of new ways of opening up and using data to drive real, tangible changes in people’s lives. Conversations are moving on from ‘whether’ data should be made publicly available to ‘how’ they can best be opened up, standardised and made more meaningful. Production of disaggregated data that can be sliced and diced by gender, race, disability or age is also invaluable in supporting accountability and human-centered policymaking. However, all this costs money and requires new skills and new ways of working.

We therefore welcome your thoughts on a data revolution to promote open and usable data. In particular we welcome suggestions on scaling-up successful approaches and input on:

  1. Getting the basics right, including filling data gaps, increasing timeliness and setting common standards to make data more accessible and useful to people. What are the priorities? Who needs to do what?
  2. Capacity building: what should be taught in schools, what new skills are required in national statistical offices, and how can individuals and organisations become more able to collect and use data to drive action and accountability?
  3. How can the owners of data in both public and private spheres be encouraged or required to make data more available to whoever wants it?
image: Venn diagram of data literacy, by justgrimes (CC)