Introducing The State of Open Data

State of Open Data
Oct 31, 2017 · 3 min read
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2018 will mark 10 years of active and growing open data initiatives. From a political perspective, 10 years might be considered a moment in time, but from a technological point of a view, a decade may represent multiple generations of innovation. In the open data context, where tech and politics meet, we hope that a decade means that open data is no longer a buzzword, but rather a powerful tool to create positive social change all over the world.

Inherently, since it’s rooted in data and evidence, the open data community is analytical, critical, and obsessed with measurement. Can we say that we actually understand what has happened with regard to open data around the world over the last decade? After ten years, are individuals, organizations, and governments able to get involved with open data more easily? Are stakeholders really starting to work on new open data initiatives based on evidence and research, or being steered by whatever might be the hot topic of the day? Are activists chasing unachievable dreams or going somewhere tangible?

We need to make informed decisions, both individually and as a movement. Moreover, we need to answer all of the questions above in order to learn from our past and be able to move forward in a much more strategic way. Looking back at the last decade gives us an opportunity to reflect on our journey so far, and identify where we can improve and in what areas we can work more effectively together in the future. Completing this reflection now, when challenges to sustainability are all around us, is the focus of a new project: The State of Open Data.

As a publication, The State of Open Data will address the development of the open data movement over the past 10 years from a multitude of perspectives. It will be a comprehensive review, straightforward in its assessment of successes or failures, that will look at how best to shape the future of open data around the world. As such, the project also aspires to be as inclusive and transparent as possible.

The project is funded by the Open Data for Development (OD4D) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and is coordinated by a small project team, but the intention is to seek the participation of a large number of open data leaders and researchers to author a range of chapters on diverse themes and areas of activity.

In order to have a full comprehensive review, we need you, the open data community, to help us. We will publish environmental scans and a series of blogs for comment and input, and will seek active engagement from all sectors and regions. The success of this project is dependent on the feedback that we will get from you.

You can find us @stateofopendata on Twitter , here on Medium or email us at

The State of Open Data team: Stephen Walker, Tim Davies, Mor Rubinstein and Jean-Noé Landry

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