GUIDE: How to use open data to fight corruption


Open Data Charter corruption graphic[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Robert Palmer, the Partnerships and Communication Director of the Open Data Charter. This post on open data and corruption was originally published at the organization’s blog.]

Corruption has a devastating impact on the lives of people around the world. When money that should be spent on schools, hospitals and other government services ends up in the hands of dishonest officials, everyone suffers.

That’s why we’re launching the Open Up Guide: Using Open Data to Combat Corruption. We think that with the right conditions in place, greater transparency can lead to more accountability, less corruption and better outcomes for citizens.

This guide builds on the work in this area already done by the G20’s anti-corruption working group, Transparency International and the Web Foundation.

Inside the guide, you’ll find a number of tools, including:

  • A short overview on how open data can be used to combat corruption.
  • Use cases and methodologies. A series of case studies highlighting existing and future approaches to the use of open data in the anti-corruption field.
  • 30 priority datasets and the key attributes needed so that they can talk to each other. To address corruption networks it is particularly important that connections can be established and followed across data sets, national borders and different sectors.
  • Data standards. Standards describe what should be published, and the technical details of how it should be made available. The report includes some of the relevant standards for anti-corruption work, and highlights the areas where there are currently no standards.

The guide has been developed by Transparency International-Mexico, Open Contracting Partnership, OD4D and the Open Data Charter, building on input from government officials, open data experts, civil society and journalists. It’s been designed as a practical tool for governments who want to use open data to fight corruption.

It’s still a work in progress, however, and we want feedback on how to make it more useful. Please either comment directly on the Google Doc version of the guide, or email us at

As for next steps, we’re planning on road-testing the assumptions underlying the guide with a number of countries to understand how we can make the guide as useful as possible. The Charter team is in early conversations with the Government of Mexico about developing a methodology to road test the guide and ground this work to address real life challenges.

The anti-corruption guide is part of a series of Open Up Guides that the Charter network is developing to help different sectors turn the Principles into practical action. The other areas of focus are agriculture and climate change.

View the full guide to using open data to fight corruption.

On June 6th, the Open Data Charter hosted an online conversation about using open data to fight corruption. You can watch the archived video below: