Data for Development Case Statement

08 Jul 2014

Data for Development Case Statement

Interest group “Data for Development”

Many researchers work on topics which require information from areas and population groups where only limited data exist. Data collected by the private and public sector (e.g. IGOs, NGOs, academia etc), social media data etc. provide important sources to get an overview of factors and issues of relevance to societal development in such areas. In particular following disasters, during conflicts, post-conflict situations or with regard to vulnerable populations these data are the only available and often used as evidence for policy implementations recommended to governments and are thus of great importance to decision-making processes.

This interest group focuses on the access to and usage of data from a variety of sources of relevance to development studies, human rights, conflict research and vulnerable and hidden populations. Whereas many intergovernmental organizations have a tradition of open data access routines and policies to data they have collected, data collected by non-governmental organizations are often not available for further usage. Also relevant data collected by university institutes and research organizations are often not shared with the community and increasingly also the question is raised which contribution big data may have in this area and how to collect, use, share and analyze these data.

The aim of this interest group is establish a forum in which important topics related to the access to and usage of development data can be discussed and recommendations elaborated in respective working groups. Topics to be covered range from improving data sharing culture, ethical issues related to open access to development data, and safeguarding vulnerable populations, to practical and ethical considerations of using big data in development research.    

One of the arguments we often get for not sharing data is that it may be dangerous for those involved, they may be detected in the data file etc. which may be dangerous for them, in particular in present conflict zones. However, based on examples we can show that it is possible both to anonymize the data to such an extent that it safeguards the individual’s right to anonymity and still provide access to the data to avoid multiple data collection among these vulnerable groups.  A challenge is of course that data collected often includes a variety of sources such as qualitative and quantitative interviews, photos, drawings, satellite pictures etc and one of the WG’s to be established is likely to be on how to combine, store, share and analyze different types of data.

The IG will reach out to research institutions in academia, organisations, ministries we work with/know they have data in order to elaborated basis for cooperation and data exchange. We will also reach out to other RDA IG’s that are related thematically, methodologically or technically.

 

Chair:

Ingvill C. Mochmann, GESIS-Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences and Cologne Business School, Germany.

Co-chairs:

Paul de Guchteneire, Human Rights expert, the Netherlands

Malina Voicu, GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany.

Members:

Eunice Apio, Facilitation for Peace and Development, Northern Uganda, and University of Birmingham, U.K.

Susan A. Bartels, Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, U.S.A.
 

Vincenzo Bollettino, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), Cambridge, U.S.A.

Dara Kay Cohen, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, U.S.A.

Scott Gates, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway.

Jocelyn Kelly, Women in War Program for Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), Cambridge, U.S.A.

Phillipp Kuwert, Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie der Universitätsmedizin Greifswald  an dem HELIOS-Hanseklinikum Stralsund, Germany.

Tor Midtbø, Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen, Norway.

Marcia Taylor, Essex, U.K.

Bogdan Voicu, Romanian Academy of Science, Research institute for Quality of Life and "Lucian Blaga" University of Sibiu, Sociology, Romania.