Quarantined Data? The impact, scope & challenges of open data during COVID

Chapter by Álvaro V. Ramírez-Alujas: “How do rates of COVID19 infection increase? How do populations respond to lockdown measures? How is the pandemic affecting the economic and social activity of communities beyond health? What can we do to mitigate risks and support families in this context? The answer to these and other key questions is part of the intense global public debate on the management of the health crisis and how appropriate public policy measures have been taken in order to combat the impact and effects of COVID19 around the world. The common ground to all of them? The availability and use of public data and information. This chapter reflects on the relevance of public information and the availability, processing and use of open data as the primary hub and key ingredient in the responsiveness of governments and public institutions to the COVID19 pandemic and its multiple impacts on society. Discussions are underway concerning the scope, paradoxes, lessons learned, and visible challenges with respect to the available evidence and comparative analysis of government strategies in the region, incorporating the urgent need to shift towards a more robust, sustainable data infrastructure anchored in a logic of strengthening the ecosystem of actors (public and private sectors, civil society and the scientific community) to shape a framework of governance, and a strong, emerging institutional architecture based on data management for sustainable development on a human scale…(More)”.