Data Re-Use and Collaboration for Development

Stefaan G. Verhulst at Data & Policy: “It is often pointed out that we live in an era of unprecedented data, and that data holds great promise for development. Yet equally often overlooked is the fact that, as in so many domains, there exist tremendous inequalities and asymmetries in where this data is generated, and how it is accessed. The gap that separates high-income from low-income countries is among the most important (or at least most persistent) of these asymmetries…

Data collaboratives are an emerging form of public-private partnership that, when designed responsibly, can offer a potentially innovative solution to this problem. Data collaboratives offer at least three key benefits for developing countries:

1. Cost Efficiencies: Data and data analytic capacity are often hugely expensive and beyond the limited capacities of many low-income countries. Data reuse, facilitated by data collaboratives, can bring down the cost of data initiatives for development projects.

2. Fresh insights for better policy: Combining data from various sources by breaking down silos has the potential to lead to new and innovative insights that can help policy makers make better decisions. Digital data can also be triangulated with existing, more traditional sources of information (e.g., census data) to generate new insights and help verify the accuracy of information.

3. Overcoming inequalities and asymmetries: Social and economic inequalities, both within and among countries, are often mapped onto data inequalities. Data collaboratives can help ease some of these inequalities and asymmetries, for example by allowing costs and analytical tools and techniques to be pooled. Cloud computing, which allows information and technical tools to be easily shared and accessed, are an important example. They can play a vital role in enabling the transfer of skills and technologies between low-income and high-income countries…(More)”. See also: Reusing data responsibly to achieve development goals (OECD Report).