Strengthening IATI data quality: towards a comprehensive user feedback system

  • April 1, 2020

Mark Brough.jpeg

This post has been written by Mark Brough on Catalpa's launch of their new data feedback project, which was awarded funding from IATI’s Data Use Fund.

Over the last ten years, a wide range of organisations have invested considerable efforts in publishing IATI data. However, the consensus is that there is still a need to increase and diversify the usage of IATI data. The new IATI Strategic Plan (2020-2025) commits to “develop feedback mechanisms so users can alert publishers to issues with their data”.

Data Quality Feedback Mechanism project

UNDP, on behalf of the IATI Data Use Task Force, commissioned Catalpa to undertake research “to explore the opportunities for increasing the communication between data users and publishers, with the primary goal of improving the quality of IATI data”.

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As agreed, the research will focus particularly on partner countries, but our aim is for the recommendations to be applicable to a broad set of IATI data users. Claudia Schwegmann is the lead author on this work, supported by myself and Anders Hofstee (read UNDP’s Request For Proposal in full).

While a range of different tools and processes currently exist to measure data quality, at the moment, there are limited avenues for individual users to provide feedback to publishers.

While a range of different tools and processes currently exist to measure data quality, at the moment, there are limited avenues for individual users to provide feedback to publishers.

Last year UNDP conducted an IATI Data Use Survey, which found that 58% of publishers do not have any mechanism in place for “seeking or receiving feedback from users” of their published data - though 97% said they would be interested in receiving feedback on their data.

The survey showed that the remaining 42% of feedback received by publishers is principally via email. Email clearly has advantages as an established communications channel, but it also has its limitations. As feedback is not captured in a structured and systematic way across different users and different publishers, it is hard to curate and coordinate different users' inputs, and there is no systematic way of tracking when publishers have resolved particular issues.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be reaching out to a wide range of IATI stakeholders to understand how feedback on data could best be channeled back to publishers and made accessible to other data users, in a way that is most likely to lead to improvements in data quality. We’ll be sharing more information throughout this process, and you’re welcome to get in touch with us if you’d like to hear more about our work. Contact Claudia and myself by emailing cl.schwegmann@gmail.com and mark@brough.io.