Data for Development IG

Taxonomy: Social Sciences, Medical and Health Sciences, Humanities










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Group details

Case Statement: 
IG Established

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.

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.



Ingvill C. Mochmann, GESIS-Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences , Germany.

Simone Haasler, GESIS-Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany

Norman Mukasa,  MRU and Bugema University, Uganda