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Launching the Open Up Guide: Using Open Data to Combat Corruption

Robert Palmer|

This post originally appeared on Open Data Charter.

Corruption has a devastating impact on the lives of people around the world. When money that should be spent on schools, hospitals and other government services ends up in the hands of dishonest officials, everyone suffers.

That’s why today we’re launching the Open Up Guide: Using Open Data to Combat Corruption. We think that with the right conditions in place, greater transparency can lead to more accountability, less corruption and better outcomes for citizens. This guide builds on the work in this area already done by the G20’s anti-corruption working groupTransparency International and the Web Foundation.

Inside the guide you’ll find a number of tools including:

  • short overview on how open data can be used to combat corruption.
  • Use cases and methodologies. A series of case studies highlighting existing and future approaches to the use of open data in the anti-corruption field.
  • 30 priority datasets and the key attributes needed so that they can talk to each other. To address corruption networks it is particularly important that connections can be established and followed across data sets, national borders and different sectors.
  • Data standards. Standards describe what should be published, and the technical details of how it should be made available. The report includes some of the relevant standards for anti-corruption work, and highlights the areas where there are currently no standards.

The guide has been developed by Transparency International-Mexico, Open Contracting Partnership and the Open Data Charter, building on input from government officials, open data experts, civil society and journalists. It’s been designed as a practical tool for governments who want to use open data to fight corruption. However, it’s still a work in progress and we want feedback on how to make it more useful. Please either comment directly on the Google Doc version of the guide, or email us at

As for next steps, we’re planning on road-testing the assumptions underlying the guide with a number of countries to understand how we can make the guide as useful as possible. The Charter team is in early conversations with the Government of Mexico about developing a methodology to road test the guide and ground this work to address real life challenges.  

The anti-corruption guide is part of a series of Open Up Guides that the Charter network is developing to help different sectors turn the Principles into practical action. The other areas of focus are agriculture and climate change.  

On 6 June we’ll be hosting an online conversation along with speakers from government, civil society and journalism to discuss the new guide and how the movement can work together on using open data to fight corruption. Please join us! RSPV here.

View the full guide.

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