About the State of Open Data

About Page

Over the past 15 years, countless projects and initiatives around the world have used open data to address a myriad of socio-economic development challenges. More recently, the open data movement has fully entered a new phase in its evolution, shifting to target real-world problems and embed open data thinking into other existing or emerging communities of practice, but big questions still remain. How are open data initiatives responding to new concerns about privacy, inclusion, and artificial intelligence? And what have we learned about how to deliver impact where it is most needed?

The original publication of The State of Open Data in 2019 brought together more than 60 authors from around the world to take stock of the progress to date and explored the issues shaping the open data movement. Now in 2024, we have updated the original publication to explore recurring and emerging issues impacting the use of open data and the role it needs to play in the rapidly evolving ‘AI and data for development’ movement.

To accompany the update process, we also hosted a series of roundtables to gather perspectives on the recent use and impact of open data around the world on issues ranging from artificial intelligence and data protection to climate action, gender, and health, and so much more.

Our brand new online format allows readers to review the original publication while accessing 30 brand new chapter updates and a renewed vision to guide open data agendas in the years to come.

The Project

The State of Open Data is an ongoing project designed to reflect on over 15 years of global action and the critical role open data can play in addressing social and economic challenges across a variety of sectors, regions, and communities. The project has been funded by the International Research Centre with the support of the Data for Development Network (D4D.net). Work on this project is intended to be transparent, inclusive, and gender balanced.

The original and ongoing goal of the project is to learn in order to help shape the future of open data based on evidence gathered from a multiple of communities. With contributions from over 75 authors, the State of Open Data has brought a myriad of perspectives to the task of reviewing the real state of open data.

This comprehensive review of the current state of the open data movement, not once but twice, has had three primary objectives:

  • Assess its effectiveness in addressing challenges related to social and economic development and democratisation around the world.
  • Engage with key actors and initiatives in order to reflect collectively on the impact of open data to date and the major challenges still to be addressed.
  • Support strategic and collaborative planning for future open data activities, research, network and partnership development, and new programming by all stakeholders.

Key Deliverables

  • The State of Open Data: Histories and Horizons - A flagship publication designed to serve as a core reference work and stimulus for open data policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers.
  • Blogs and Webinars - To share learning as it happens and support wider community engagement on specific issues and themes examined throughout the project.
  • Updates to State of Open Data chapters and recommendations under the theme, “New Horizons”, to be integrated into a new online format for easy access and reuse.