Open call: join a network of organisations that steward open data

Wed Aug 11, 2021
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We’re looking for established organisations that steward open data to join the second cohort of our peer learning network, run in partnership with Microsoft

– This opportunity is now closed –


We’re looking for established organisations that steward open data to join the second cohort of our peer learning network, run in partnership with Microsoft.

Our peer learning network

As part of our partnership with Microsoft, we are running a peer learning network that provides cohorts of data collaborations with guidance, funding and other support.

The idea behind the network is that experimenting with different approaches to collecting, maintaining or sharing data can be difficult, and that those involved can learn from the experience and expertise of others.

Between October 2020 and April 2021, we took on a first cohort of six early-stage data collaborations that addressed significant societal and economic challenges across sectors including transport, health and others. Over the six months, we offered opportunities for the participants to connect and network, ran workshops themed around key challenges, and gave 1:1 support from the ODI and Microsoft team. We also shared guidance and literature, and connected the participants to relevant experts across our combined network.

The next cohort

We are now gearing up to onboard a second cohort to the peer learning network. This time, we will focus on mature organisations (rather than nascent projects or initiatives) whose purpose is to steward open data that anyone can access, use and share (rather than those that share data between a specified set of actors).

Examples of the types of organisations we’ll be focusing on include OpenCorporates, which maintains openly accessible data on nearly 200 million companies, and Open Apparel Registry, which publishes an open source map and database of global apparel facilities.

Through our past engagement with these types of organisations, we’re aware of a number of common challenges they face. We hope that the peer learning network can help to address these challenges. For instance, in pursuit of sustainability, a number of organisations that steward open data are experimenting with revenue streams that are consistent with their commitment to open access – such as Wikimedia’s recent introduction of its Enterprise API.

Given that the objective of the ODI and Microsoft’s partnership is to advance the cause of open, trustworthy data sharing and collaboration, we want to recognise and support the vital role that these organisations play in making data openly available for others.

Get involved

In the coming weeks, we will be approaching organisations to join the peer learning network. We are also launching this open call to encourage others to take part.

For the organisations that join us, the network will provide opportunities to share and learn from one another. Between October 2021 and March 2022, we’ve planned a number of activities, including:

  • roundtable discussions to explore issues such as: barriers to publishing high-quality open data; sustainability and revenue models; methods of collaborative data collection and maintenance, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • networking events to enable the organisations to learn more about one another and explore opportunities for collaboration.
  • facilitated knowledge sharing through online tools, such as mailing lists and group chats.

We can provide up to £20,000 in funding to each organisation to compensate for time spent engaging with the network and sharing their insights with others over the six months.

In exchange, we will ask the organisations to contribute to an ODI and Microsoft output that documents the issues discussed by the group and any learnings they make, so that we can support a wider audience to learn from their approaches and progress.

If you are an organisation that stewards open data that anyone can access, use and share and want to learn more about taking part in the peer learning network, please contact elea.himmelsbach@theodi.org no later than 31 August 2021.