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Comparing decentralised approaches to publishing data using open standards

Mon Dec 14, 2020
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We’ve been exploring how different data access initiatives are building the data infrastructure needed to tackle a variety of social, environmental and economic challenges, and have identified a ‘pattern’ for documentation

One of our research projects this year is exploring how different data access initiatives are building the data infrastructure needed to tackle a variety of social, environmental and economic challenges.

We recently shared a blog post outlining how we define data access initiatives and our experience of exploring a range of frameworks, like logic models, behaviour change and systems thinking to understand how those initiatives are trying to deliver impact.

We’ve researched a wide range of different initiatives and interviewed some of their team members to understand more about their different approaches.

Along the way we noted that some initiatives have a very similar design. While they might be working on very different problems, in different sectors and with a different range of stakeholders, they were engaged in similar activities. In particular, a number of initiatives are using the development and adoption of open standards to drive a decentralised approach to data publishing. They ask individual organisations to publish data in standard ways, rather than creating a single portal or platform to hold it all.

While there are other types of data access initiative and means to increase access to data, this one was common enough that we decided to document the pattern. We were also familiar with this style of initiative as it reflects our work on OpenActive and OpenBanking and we have seen other initiatives looking to adopt similar approaches.

Our report, ‘Comparing decentralised data publishing initiatives’ provides more detail on this model. We’ve also published a comparison of 14 different initiatives to highlight the similarities and differences between them. Our comparison focuses on the range of activities that help to build this type of decentralised data ecosystem.

Our hope is that this report will help those who are currently leading or designing similar initiatives to think about some of the activities they may need to do to achieve impact.

As always, we’d love to get feedback on the report. So do get in touch.

In the meantime, we are continuing to write up the results of our discovery phase so will be sharing more insights soon.