Towards Open Development Data: A review of open development data from a NGO perspective

December 06, 2016 by Tijs van den Broek, Marijn Rijken, Sander van Oort

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We live in an information-driven and networked society (Castells, 1996). Hence, several public sectors, such as government, education and development cooperation, are in a transition from closed, formal organisations towards open and networked models of organisation. This transition in the development sector is termed Open Development, which can be defined as: “An emerging set of possibilities to catalyse positive change through open information-networked activities in international development” (Smith et al, 2011). This transition to open development is driven both by societal and technological trends. Firstly, the current debate on development effectiveness is pushing NGOs to plan, monitor and evaluate their work more effectively. Secondly, the end of the traditional rich North vs. poor South thinking requires NGOs to rethink their role and organisational model, as local NGOs, the private sector and local governments increasingly take control over development work in their country. Thirdly, the public concern on poor development spending sparks NGOs to improve their transparency and accountability. Finally, the budget austerity of governments in the North put pressure on NGOs to find new ways to fund their development activities. This pressure requires NGOs to collaborate with private foundations, citizens and businesses.