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[Spotlight] Building a trustworthy data ecosystem

Data Institutions, data stewardship and opening data beyond transparency

Photo by Agnieszka Mordaunt on Unsplash

by Flor Serale, IWG Co-Chair

In our June Implementation Working Group (IWG) meeting we hosted two brilliant panelists — Jack Hardinges, Data Institutions Programme Lead from the Open Data Institute (ODI) and Fabrizio Scrollini, Director of the Iniciativa Latinoamericana de Datos Abiertos (ILDA) to discuss the role of data institutions in stewarding data for the public good and challenges in the Latin America and the Caribbean region to use data to create social, environmental and economic impacts.

Video can be accessed here.

Data Institutions: stewarding data to create trust

Data stewardship is a foundational activity when managing and publishing data for creating value in our communities. Data institutions emerge as key organisations that can steward data on behalf of others, often towards public, educational or charitable aims. In the first half of the IWG, Jack introduced us to the role and outcomes data institutions can have in protecting data, acting as gatekeepers, creating open data assets, maintaining data infrastructure and enabling people to take a more active role in data stewardship.

During his presentation, Jack mentioned different types of data institutions and insightful case studies (ODI has also developed a register to map and describe them) of emerging and mature organizations stewarding data. ”The way data is stewarded has emerged as THE issue,” Jack stated.

ODI (2021): Roles and types of Data Institutions

He also talked about the role governments could play in supporting data institutions and named a few of them:

  • Provide access to funding for new data institutions.
  • Mandate the creation of new data institutions.
  • Engage with and use data steward by existing data institutions.
  • Recognise and improve their own role as data institutions.
  • Set direction and describe goals, priorities and values for data stewardship.
  • Develop infrastructure that supports experimentation around new forms of data stewardship and data institutions.
  • Build or support existing local expert organisations on data stewardship.

This presentation led to discussing how these organisations could contribute to create or increase trust in government and which business models are available to make them sustainable.

Open Data in Latin America and the Caribbean: is the region opening with a purpose?

Fabrizio presented the results of the 2020 edition of the Open Data Barometer (ODB), which replicated the ODB methodology-developed by the World Wide Web Foundation- to update scores and results in Latin America and the Caribbean (you can explore the results here).

ILDA (2021): Open Data Barometer in LAC

Fabrizio commented that there were some positive evolutions in terms of implementation in countries like Uruguay (64 points out of 100), Argentina (63 points), Colombia (60 points) and Brazil (60 points). However, many countries have stagnated and there wasn’t a qualitative improvement compared to other ODB editions. There are still challenges in using data due to lack of investments and data quality of datasets such as land ownership, companies register and transport. Contracting data seems to be the data assets that was best ranked, mainly because the huge work open contracting is doing to standardize this data.

Lastly, Fabrizio ended his presentation with some insightful recommendations to strengthen open data strategies in Latin America and the Caribbean:

  • Sustain investments in open data
  • Develop an holistic approach on data governance and management considering the different aspects of production and publication of data
  • Double efforts to include private sector and CSOs in the open data ecosystem
  • Improve the quality data, including gender disaggregation of data assets
  • Think of enabling trust to use data in complex contexts such as COVID-19

ODC claxon: sharing some news!

In this IWG session, Agus announced she was leaving the ODC to take a new challenge in Open Ownership. Best wishes Agus and thanks for all your support in building an inclusive and insightful IWG!

We also welcomed Mercedes, who’s ODC’s new Project Manager and will support the IWG moving forward.

Finally reminder: In August, we’ll be taking a break from IWG meetings, to revamp them in September. See you all on the last Tuesday of September!

Recommended resources:

If you would like to join our next Implementation Working Group in September, please send us an email:




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