In a new piece for The Conversation, Network chief of research Stefaan Verhulst shares findings from a new GovLab research project examining Open Data in Developing Economies. Informed by 12 in-depth case studies, GovLab sought to assess the current (largely lacking) evidence on the impact of open data across developing countries, develop a framework of analysis to inform future research and evaluation, identify the key enabling conditions and disabling factors related to the use of open data for development, and provide recommendations for practitioners and donors to amplify open data's impacts.
Verhulst describes some of the key findings surfaced on the unique features and benefits of open data for developing economies:
"[W]e believe that open data can have a particularly powerful role in developing economies.
Where data is scarce, as it often is in poorer countries, open data can lead to an inherently more equitable and democratic distribution of information and knowledge. This, in turn, may activate a wider range of expertise to address complex problems; it’s what we in the field call 'open innovation'.
This quality can allow resource-starved developing economies to access and leverage the best minds around.
And because trust in government is quite low in many developing economies, the transparency bred of releasing data can have after-effects that go well beyond the immediate impact of the data itself."