Our Approach

We create partnerships to promote effective and accountable data policy

In our efforts to encourage a shift towards governments being “open by default”, we have learned that publishing data to solve specific policy problems is more effective than doing so in isolation. “Publish with purpose” creates more incentives and momentum than “publish and they will come”.

To this end, we encourage governments to take small steps that yield quick wins. We help public sector reformers address global challenges by supporting policy making, data governance frameworks, and the prioritization of data publication and use.

Our two main strands of work are: 1) articulating global norms and, 2) Demonstrating impact. Learning from implementation at the local level continuously informs our global advocacy.

Articulating norms

We work with our network of government adopters and international bodies to show how good data governance can address global policy goals. Along the way, we build field partnerships to ground open data norms in culture and practice.Through collaboration with organisations working on other data rights – like privacy – we ensure our calls for reform are mutually reinforcing and help governments to strike a balance between advancing transparency and accountability using data and protecting human rights.

Demonstrating impact

Alongside this, we advocate and support governments to implement reforms based on open data rights principles that yield tangible benefits to citizens (see audiences below).

We also partner with field experts to develop practical guidance on how to implement rounded open data policies and practices, that explicitly recognise the importance of data rights and risk mitigation, and connect governments with experts in governing data inclusively and accountably.By focusing on delivering social and political benefits, we create a positive feedback loop which gathers lessons from effective policy solutions, builds stronger institutional support globally, and broadens the coalition for purpose-driven, balanced access to and use of data.

Key targets

Partnership and collaboration are central to our work. We work with data experts and domain-specific organisations to support governments as they implement data principles and deliver systemic change.

Reformist governments

By showing how an open approach to data rights can address the wider challenges and opportunities they face, we create incentives for policy-makers to invest in this area as a tool for good government. We specifically target reformist governments which aim to demonstrate how an open and human rights-based approach to data governance can help address critical issues like climate change, gender inequality and transparency in political campaigning.

Field experts

We partner with leading experts in several fields at global and local levels to create thematic guidance which helps governments govern the data they release and provide use cases that demonstrate the impact of data policy and governance.

Data practitioners

An extensive group of organisations endorse the ODC principles, and we increasingly collaborate with diverse data communities, including from, privacy, security, access to information, and artificial intelligence groups. We connect data experts with our partners to help them address the problems they care about with smart, standardised use of open data.

Since 2017 the ODC has worked on core themes suggested by our Adopters. For each of these themes we have developed tools to help implement better open thematic policies integrating both supply and demand of data.


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