Development Initiatives and Publish What You Fund launch new project to make data easier to compare and use

Development Initiatives and Publish What You Fund today launched a new joint project aimed at improving the way that data can be shared and used. The Joined-Up Data Standards project, supported by Omidyar Network, seeks to change the way in which the standards that govern development data are designed and how they can be aligned to bring data together from multiple data standards. The aim is to achieve greater interoperability of data to improve decision-making and accountability.

Increasing amounts of data about development resources and outcomes are becoming available but are difficult to compare with one another because they are published in different formats.  The project will work collaboratively with data standards bodies to bridge these differences with a view to making it possible for users to compare and draw on data from multiple sources.

In the first phase of the project, case studies will be developed to highlight problems of standards incompatibility, and competing standards will be mapped in collaboration with the global institutions maintaining them. The project will also support collaboration between open publishing standards in fields such as development cooperation, humanitarian relief, public contracting and natural resource governance to ensure that the data generated through these systems is fully interoperable.

The project aims to establish the technical and political rationale for the creation of an international working group to provide sustainable leadership and governance for joined-up data standards.

Announcing the new project, Harpinder Collacott, Director of Engagement and Impact at Development Initiatives, said:

          “Data has the potential to revolutionise the development landscape. However, this will only happen when data can be brought together to become information that can inform decisions. To achieve this DI has launched this project to find solutions to overcome data silos and ensure data can be combined and contextualised. We believe the Joined Up Data Standards project will make an important contribution to the use of data and information to inform decision-making and help deliver a data revolution.”

Rupert Simons, CEO of Publish What You Fund said:

           “Information is power, and to share that power we need to share the information. That’s difficult right now, because there are different open data standards and they aren’t always compatible with each other. At Publish What You Fund, we see this project as equivalent to building a translation engine between languages. We don’t want to replace any of the languages, but we do want to make it easier to share information across countries and sectors.”


Omidyar Network is the main funding partner for the first phase of the project (2015–2017) providing funding of US$1 million.

The overall budget for the first phase is US$1.4 million. Development Initiatives and Publish What You Fund invite interested funding partners to contribute to this important and groundbreaking effort.

  • Development Initiatives (DI) works to end extreme poverty by 2030 by making data and information on poverty and resources transparent, accessible and useable. Working to support partners at national levels in Uganda, Kenya and Nepal and providing information and analysis on global resource flows, DI helps decision makers to use information to increase their impact on the poorest people in the most sustainable way. With its technical expertise, DI has been instrumental in developing and supporting the IATI standard for aid flows. In this project, DI will be the lead implementing partner focusing on the critical technical aspects and on engaging expert stakeholders.
  • Publish What You Fund is the global campaign for aid transparency. Its mission is to achieve a significant increase in the availability and accessibility of comprehensive, timely, comparable and accessible information about development flows. Its primary focus is advocacy for the publication of information in common, open, accessible formats. Publish What You Fund has been a highly effective advocate for aid transparency, for example through its work on the Aid Transparency Index, encouraging the take up of IATI by leading aid providers. In this project, it will focus on engaging decision-makers to build momentum towards joined-up data standards through constructive advocacy.