Making data more accessible for society at large



To: 24-03-2014


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Making data more accessible for society at large: the role of open data, communication and technology

From 11 June 09:00 (GMT) until 24 June 2014 !

Wikiprogress and partners invite you to join this discussion on the role of open data, communication and technology in making data more accessible for society at large.


The purpose of this online discussion is to take a broad look at the opportunities and challenges of using open data, visualisation, and other technology-based approaches to making data more accessible for society. We would like to hear from people who are dealing with these issues in their work and research, and also from people who are new to the topic but would like to participate in the debate to learn more.

Information is knowledge, and knowledge is power. In order to empower citizens and ensure they have the information they need, we need to find innovative ways to make data more accessible for society at large. “Accessibility” can mean different things in this context.

Open Data

First, it can mean making data more freely available for people to download, use, and share with others. This is the principle behind the Open Data movement, which encourages governments and other organisations to make all kinds of data that are relevant to people’s lives completely transparent and available to all. Engaged citizens can use open data to make better-informed decisions, to hold governments and other institutions accountable for their actions, and to contribute to finding solutions to social problems. For many, open data is also the key to the “data revolution” needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


Not everyone has the time or the ability to make the most out of raw data though. A second way of making data more accessible is through effective communication. Data producers, or “intermediaries” such as bloggers, data journalists, campaigners, and other communicators, can make the underlying meaning of data more easily understandable through the use of effective storytelling. Effective data visualisation, in particular, can be an immensely powerful way of conveying the sense of complex analysis in clear and simple terms for a broad, non-expert audience.

Interactive Technology

Finally, accessibility can also refer to ease of participation. Interactive technologies such as mobile apps and crowdsourcing platforms, can enable all members of society to contribute as data producers, not just data consumers. Citizen-generated data is a relatively new field, but one with a large potential to collect information that is directly relevant to people’s well-being, in a low-cost and timely manner. Innovative projects such as Mappiness, OpenStreetMap, HarrasMap, and Moodometer demonstrate the wide range of uses of crowdsourced data.

Leading questions

  • What role can Open Data play to increase citizen’s engagement with well-being and progress statistics?
  • How can data visualisation and storytelling be used to increase our understanding of data?
  • What are the best examples of crowd-sourced data related to well-being and progress?
  • How else can technology or other innovative methods be used to make data more accessible to society at large?

Related Blogs:


The OECD is one of four partners in a European Commission-funded project called Web Communities for Statistics and Social Innovation (Web-COSI), whose overarching aim is to ensure ‘Statistics for Everyone’. Over two years, Web-COSI will be exploring innovative ways to increase public engagement with the production, promotion, and use of ‘beyond GDP’ statistics and data. Wikiprogress will be conducting a number of activities in 2014 to this end.


Here is the link to the page and the hashtags for Twitter are #CitizenEngagement and#StatsForAll or you can follow @Wikiprogress.

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