Recent years have witnessed considerable speculation about the potential of open data to bring about wide-scale transformation. The bulk of existing evidence about the impact of open data, however, focuses on high-income countries. Much less is known about open data’s role and value in low- and middle-income countries, and more generally about its possible contributions to economic and social development. The field lacks a coherent Theory of Change for how and in what contexts open data supports or hampers development.
This project seeks to build an evidence base identifying: a) the conditions under which open data is most (and least) effective in the development process; b) strategies to maximize the positive contributions of open data to development; and c) means for limiting open data’s harms on developing countries.
Toward that end, we are landscaping the current field of research investigating the value of open data in low and middle income contexts and developing a collection of in-depth, illustrative and detailed case studies to better understand how developing countries are responding to public demand to open their data, who is making use of that data and for what, and what impact it is having in several key domains.