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This study aims to improve understanding of data institutions – organisations that steward data on behalf of others, often towards public, educational or charitable aims – by quantifying the impact they may have on the ecosystems in which they operate

There is already a body of evidence showing the impact of open data and open standards. While this provides valuable insight into the impact and benefits of data flows, and how they may be measured, there is limited evidence for the impact of data institutions and the stewardship they perform.

This report focuses on illustrative case studies of five UK-based data institutions, corresponding with the different stewardship roles they may perform.

  • Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN): Facilitating safe access and developing infrastructure
    • A web portal which aggregates UK marine data, providing a centralised access point for users
  • Farmbench: Independent gatekeeping and generating insights
    • An online benchmarking tool which allows farmers to compare their performance to other farmers across the UK
  • 360Giving: Publishing open data and developing infrastructure
    • A charity which provides an open search platform for charitable grants data.
  • Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD): Facilitating safe access and independent gatekeeping 
    • A platform which collects anonymised patient data from UK GPs, and links this data to a range of other sources to provide a UK representative health dataset
  • OpenActive: Developing infrastructure
    • A sector-wide initiative providing a set of open data standards, and support with using and adopting these standards, to facilitate the sharing of sports activity data

This study is part of our ongoing effort to increase awareness and understanding of data institutions among policymakers, funders and others. The objective is to support them in making interventions that create an enabling environment for data institutions to thrive. We also hope that our findings indicate how the value generated by these institutions, and approaches to documenting it, may be extrapolated to other data institutions.

2022_ODI_Measuring the impact of data institutions (PDF)

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