Data quality and the Development Data Challenge

  • Aug. 28, 2012

As part of the Development Data Challenge held in London on the weekend one of the groups worked on some of our existing code to run compliance tests on published IATI data. This highlighted the number of IATI publishers who still have a lot of work to do on improving their data – something we are working on with them, this month and next, as part of a data review.

I thought it might be useful to share what we are encouraging publishers to consider when reviewing and revising their data. From an IATI perspective, we define ‘quality’ data in three parts:

  1. Core project details updated in timely manner(quarterly): ID, title & descriptions, dates, country, participating(implementing) orgs, sectors, commitments / total project budgets
  2. Fit for purpose for purpose for country-level aid co-ordination, and aligning aid with country budgets: meaningful unit of aid; full history of project financial data, disaggregated and timely transactions, project forward looking budgets for at least next year
  3. ‘Added value’ elements requested by partner countries: subnational geo data, project docs, results, traceability (incoming source), country budget for three year, whether it is on/off budget.

These aren’t yet formal criteria, but we hope to use them for the IATI annual report due to be published early 2013 – a draft will go to steering committee in November.

Another part of the data review process for IATI publishers is to look at how they are publishing information and the validity of the format of their data  rather than just the content. Often we’ve found that data will ‘fail’ a compliance check due to simple technical formatting issues, something we are addressing with individual publishers as we talk through the detail of the data review.

Thanks to all who attended DDC 2012 for the work you’ve done to progress the IATI compliance tool, and in highlighting what we also rate as the number one priority for IATI publishers, data quality.

We’d love to hear from you if you have any other IATI lessons learned from DDC. Members of our team will also be attending OKfest in September, so get in touch if you’d like to find out more about IATI fringe events or arrange to meet up.

Kim Borrowdale, IATI Delivery Manager

[email protected]