Open data, transparency and accountability: Topic guide

This guide introduces evidence and lessons learned about open data, transparency and accountability in the international development context


Open data involves the release of data so that anyone can access, use and share it. One of the main objectives of making data open is to promote transparency. For open data and transparency initiatives to lead to accountability, the required conditions include: getting the right data published; enabling actors to find, process and use information, and to act on any outputs; and enabling institutional or social forms of enforceability or citizens’ ability to choose better services.

This topic guide discusses the definitions, theories, challenges and debates presented by the relationship between these concepts, summarises the current state of open data implementation in international development, and highlights lessons and resources for designing and implementing open data programmes.


Carolan, L. Open data, transparency and accountability: Topic guide. GSDRC, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2016), 32p

Open data, transparency and accountability: Topic guide

Published 1 September 2016