Open Data Watch (ODW) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 2013 by three development data specialists: Shaida Badiee, Misha Belkindas, and Eric Swanson. The co-founders are passionate about data, know its importance for solving development issues, but also recognize that there are many gaps in the global data set and much of the value of data produced remains untapped. Our vision is a world in which the products of national statistical systems are recognized locally and internationally for their quality, reliability, and accessibility. The co-founders have extensive experience in development data management and statistical capacity building in developing countries and are committed to understanding, analyzing, and assisting in the removal of the many obstacles to making open data a reality in all countries and key development agencies.

Because the uptake open data has been slow, especially in developing countries, the mission of Open Data Watch (ODW) is to assist countries realize the full potential of their national statistical systems by providing open access to high quality and timely statistics. Reliable data are essential for policy analysis, research, and making decisions that improve the lives of people. This is particularly critical for countries facing complex social and economic development challenges. We believe development data is a public good that should be available to everyone.

We use innovative methods to measure the openness of statistical data and monitor data and capacity gaps. One example is the Open Data Inventory (ODIN) which assesses coverage and openness of official statistics to identify gaps, promote open data policies, improve access, and encourage dialogue between national statistical offices and data users. To achieve open data and data quality improvements in low capacity countries, ODW builds partnerships among national and international statistical offices, donors, and expert groups. By sharing knowledge, creating incentives, and helping remove barriers to open and more effective statistical systems, the work of ODW and its partners contribute to the social, economic, and the overall development progress of societies.

Priorities as a partner of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

To maintain and refine the Open Data Inventory (ODIN), which will assess the openness and coverage of data on national statistical websites for 120 countries. This resource will highlight gaps in country-level data production and provide a valuable resource for locating official statistics on development indicators. The Open Data Inventory will lead to a higher level of engagement with producers and users of official statistics within the open data movement. It will clearly identify where gaps lie in measuring key development indicators and will provide simple guidelines for making official statistics more useful.