Our mission

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People, economies and societies are not getting the best value from data.

Business and funding models can restrict the social and economic benefits we receive from data and expose us to privacy and security risks. Data monopolies can increase inequality in how information is accessed and used. Startups, researchers and communities can miss out if they can’t afford the fees or access is delayed.

At the ODI, we advocate for and support an open culture: a data infrastructure that is as open as possible; data literacy and capability for all; and open innovation. At the same time, fears arising from legitimate concerns – such as who has access to data and how it might be used – can prevent us from realising data’s full benefits. Some people withdraw their consent for organisations to use data about them, leading to data that’s biased and misleading. Restrictive laws governing how data is collected and used lead to missed opportunities.

At the ODI, we advocate for and support practices that increase trust and trustworthiness: building ethical considerations into how data is collected, managed and used; ensuring equity around who accesses, uses and benefits from data; engaging widely with affected people and organisations. We cannot tackle these issues on our own. We work with others with the same or similar goals. We focus our efforts on one part of the challenge: helping companies and governments to build an open and trustworthy data ecosystem. These organisations have particular opportunities and responsibilities as data’s main collectors and users. In building this ecosystem, they can become more efficient, make their business and funding models more sustainable, and benefit society.