Research Report
Research Report

Open Data: Six Stories About Impact in the UK

October 21, 2015

By Laura Bacon

In 2010, the year the United Kingdom launched its open data portal, a Transparency & Accountability Initiative report highlighted both the promise and potential of open data to improve services and create economic growth.

In the five years since, the UK’s progress in opening its data has been pioneering and swift, but not without challenges and questions about impact. It’s this qualified success that prompted us to commission this report in an effort to understand if the promise and potential of open data are being realized, and, specifically, to…

… explore and document open data’s social, cultural, political, and economic impact;

… shine a light on the range of sectors and ways in which open data can make a difference; and

... profile the open data value chain, including its supply, demand, use, and re-use.

The report’s author, Becky Hogge, finds that open data has had catalytic and significant impact and that time will likely reveal even further value. She also flags critical challenges and obstacles, including closed datasets, valuable data not currently being collected, and important privacy considerations.

Omidyar Network has long championed open data as one key ingredient to more effective, efficient, fair governance and a more empowered and engaged citizenry. This report reinvigorates our commitment to this space and our admiration for the organizations and champions working daily to maximize the value of open data.

We are deeply grateful to Becky for the impressive rigor and depth with which she approached this research. We also thank all of the interviewees for sharing their valuable time and insights for this effort. We trust you will find it illuminating and helpful as we work together to realize open data’s promise and potential.

Download full report here.