Who We Are

We want a world in which governments collect, share and use well-governed data to respond effectively and accountably to our most pressing, social, economic, and environmental challenges.

Our Mission

To make data open and freely available, while protecting the rights of people and communities. We want to see this shift by helping to solve some of the most pressing data rights and challenges regarding data openness, creating more just societies and innovative economies.

  • The Open Data Charter is a collaboration between over 170 governments and organisations working to open up data based on a shared set of principles. We promote policies and practices that enable governments and CSOs to collect, share, and use well-governed data, to respond effectively and accountably to the following areas of work: anti-corruption, climate action, gender, artificial intelligence and data rights.

Our Vision

We want data to be open by default and published with a purpose, unless it would demonstrably infringe human rights.

Specifically, we want:

  • Public officials to balance the tradeoffs between advancing transparency and accountability using data and protecting the rights of people and communities
  • Citizens to be able to easily see and influence what their public officials do, and to trust their institutions
  • People to be able to use openly available data and accountable automated tools to access equitable public services

How we work

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 focus on encouraging governments to take small steps that yield quick wins. We support reformers in government and their partners to prioritise opening up and using quality data to help address globally relevant problems and to develop a trustworthy data governance framework to achieve this goal.

There are two main strands to our work – articulating global norms and helping governments translate them into concrete reforms which work for their context. What we learn from this implementation is fed back into our advocacy for a global standard.

Articulating norms

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

Demonstrating impact

Alongside this, we lobby 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. As a small yet agile team, we work with data experts and sector organisations to support governments to implement principles and deliver systemic change. Our key stakeholders include:

Reformist governments

They make key decisions over how to collect, share, and use the information that drives policy solutions. They also regulate companies to ensure they do not abuse our data rights, and in some cases, make data openly available. This mix of responsibilities makes them the ultimate targets of our advocacy calls.

Field experts

They bring specialized knowledge about what data they need to help them tackle clearly defined problems and opportunities. 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 well, and provide use cases to demonstrate the impact of doing so.

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.

The Team

Our Governance Structure

The ODC is overseen by a governance structure designed to reflect our position as a trusted space that guides, connects and enables governments and organisations to deliver impact from open data. These structures support the delivery of our mission and include a multi-stakeholder Advisory Board, with responsibilities for running the initiative and providing oversight for the performance of the ODC Network Team.

From its inception, the ODC has collaborated with governments and expert organisations working to open up data, based on a shared set of principles. This is reflected in the governance structure that includes highly committed governments, multilaterals and civil society organizations representatives in our Advisory Board helping guide and shape the work we do at the global and local level.

Our Advisory Board

The work of the ODC team is overseen by our advisory board.

Former Board Members

  • Allison O’Beirne, analyst with the Open Government Team in the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
  • Thom Townsend, Senior Policy Advisor at the Cabinet Office of UK.
  • Nosa Ero-Brown, Director of Ontario’s Open Government Office.
  • José M. Alonso, Director of Digital citizenship at the World Wide Web Foundation.
  • Craig Fagan, Policy Director at the World Wide Web Foundation.
  • Sumandro Chattapadhyay, a Research Director at the CIS.
  • Fernando Perini, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
  • Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info Europe.
  • Gonzalo Iglesias, an independent consultan in open data and innovation.
  • Martin Tisné, Managing Director at Luminate Group.
  • Enrique Zapata, Head of Artificial Intelligence and Govtech at CAF.

Implementation Working Group

  • Implementation Working Group – a trusted space to support public officials and experts working to deliver the ODC Principles by facilitating the sharing of practical knowledge, drawing on the experience of people actually working on making open data happen. To maximise the utility of its monthly meetings, the IWG focuses on a spotlight topic of significant nuanced debate each month to exchange knowledge and experience, ask questions and gather insights.

If you represent a government, civil society organization, private sector or multilateral working on open data and wish to participate in ODC’s working groups, please send an email to info@opendatacharter.org. You may also watch recordings of our meetings on our  YouTube Channel.

Fiscal Host

The ODC is a Resident Organization at  Civic House, a collaborative space focused on empowering civic innovation organizations, that believes in the power of technology to deliver ground-breaking citizen action solutions. The operational guidelines of this collaboration are stated in our letter of agreement (available in  English and  Spanish).


Contact us for any information you need