GODAN Donor Open Data Policy and Practice : comparing Open Data Policies and putting Common Policy into practice

The "GODAN Donor Open Data Policy and Practice" publication compares Open Data policies, and discusses putting policy into practice using lessons from implementation in five agriculture programmes.

AUTHORS: Fiona Smith (Open Data Institute), Jamie Fawcett (Open Data Institute), Ruthie Musker (GODAN)

This research was commissioned by a group of donors – DFID (the UK Department for International Development), BMGF (the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), and USAID (the US Agency for International Development) – in order to understand the opportunities for donors to make open data implementation more efficient and streamlined for their implementing research partners. The hope is to identify patterns of good practice which donors, including those outside agriculture, can build upon and contribute to through further dialogue.

A brief presentation:

The Open Data Institute (ODI)  defines “open data” as “data anyone can access, use or share.” The ODI and Global OpenData for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) believe that creation of a shared open data policy is an important element of developing strong open data practice. 

The ODI and GODAN have conducted a review of policy and data quality in five jointly funded agriculture programmes -  a diverse but representative group of  programmes:

1. Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA)
2. NextGen Cassava
3. JPAL Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (JPAL ATAI)
4. The New Alliance Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Agriculture Extension Challenge Fund
5. Strategic Partnership on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition (Agriculture – Nutrition Impact Studies Programme), - 

which could provide us with lessons about how coordination is currently working in practice, and how it could improve and in order to identify the opportunities for agriculture donors to align their approaches (Section 3). 

This was supplemented by a series of interviews and surveys with stakeholders from donor and research partner organisations to gain an impression of how policies are being implemented, including the challenges associated with further adoption of open data (Sections 4 and 5, respectively). From this multi-faceted review of policy and practice, several opportunities - where donors of agriculture research programmes can align- have been found. Donors are called upon to:


Join a global funder dialogue with other donors, researchers, and research institutions


Support and adopt common policy principles


Share approaches towards dealing with ethical considerations


Promote good open data practice among those receiving funding by regularly monitoring compliance and articulating clear expectations regarding budget allocations to ensure open data


Increase engagement and introduce practical projects to promote data reuse and innovation


Collect data use stories to demonstrate value and impacts of research data


Support the capacity of implementing research partners to improve data availability, accessibility, discoverability and quality


Adopt shared guidelines, tools and templates aimed at reducing the time and cost of policy compliance


Incentivise researchers to publish by rewarding good quality data production


Sustainably resource data publication and management



AIMS.FAO.ORG is looking forward towards creating awareness of the work done in Open AccessOpen Data, Open Science through dialogue, capacity development, collaboration and diversity, - in this way science can be advanced much faster, addressing the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

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And, thanks again for your interest ! 

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