The Global Impact of Open Data

Key Findings from Detailed Case Studies Around the World

The Global Impact of Open Data

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Open data has spurred economic innovation, social transformation, and fresh forms of political and government accountability in recent years, but few people understand how open data works. This comprehensive report, developed with support from Omidyar Network, presents detailed case studies of open data projects throughout the world, along with in-depth analysis of what works and what doesn’t.

Authors Andrew Young and Stefaan Verhulst, both with The GovLab at New York University, explain how these projects have made governments more accountable and efficient, helped policymakers find solutions to previously intractable public problems, created new economic opportunities, and empowered citizens through new forms of social mobilization.

This report includes:

  • Recommendations and implementation steps for policymakers, entrepreneurs, and activists looking to leverage open data
  • Key challenges, such as resource shortages and inadequate privacy or security protections
  • Four conditions that enable open data to work—including organizational partnerships and collaborations
  • Case studies of open data projects for improving government in Brazil, Sweden, Slovakia, and other countries
  • Projects for empowering citizens in Tanzania, Kenya, Mexico, and Uruguay
  • New business opportunities enabled by open weather, geo-location, and market research data
  • Public problem-solving efforts built on open data for Ebola in Sierra Leone, dengue fever in Singapore, and earthquakes in New Zealand

Andrew Young (@_AndrewYoung) is the Associate Director of Research at The GovLab (www.thegovlab.org), where he leads a number of grant-funded research efforts focusing on the impact of technology on public institutions. He is also the Network Coordinator of the GovLab-chaired MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Opening Governance.

Stefaan G. Verhulst (@sverhulst) is the Co-Founder and Chief R&D Officer of The GovLab at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, responsible for experimentation and evidence gathering on how to transform governance by using advances in science and technology. He was Chief of Research for the Markle Foundation, where he continues to serve as Senior Advisor.

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