Open Data Programme

ZeipNET actively supports intiatives to promote open data both in Zimbabwe. The open data culture is not well entrenched in most countries in Africa. Policy makers and other stakeholders still struggle to access development data on Africa as well as from other regional and international partners who have a stake in Africa'€™s development. There are very limited platforms for effective collection, synthesis, and sharing of data on critical development issues. Content creaters also lack knowledge and insight into how best they can licence and benefit from their work. There is limited knowledge about such models or platforms like Creative Commons and other models. In comparison to other continents like Europe, there are deliberate systems providing policymakers, research institutions, thinktanks, business communities, and civic society organisations with access to diverse data not only on their economies but on Africa as well. This means that decision makers are in a position to access socioeconomic indicators and make informed decisions. Although there have been some positive steps, most African governments are still far from being prepared for open data initiatives hence need for policy reforms. According to the Open Data Barometer, Over half of countries studied now have open data initiatives, but still less than 10% of the government data vital for sustainable development is open. Fewer than 10% of the datasets surveyed were open, and most of these are in the rich world: nearly half of the open datasets in our study are found in just 10 OECD countries, while almost none are in African countries [1]

Open data, just as other movements like open access and open source seek to promote unfettered access to information so as to promote evidence-informed decision-making, public accountability, and good governance.  At the same time researchers who produce this content also need to be both aware of how they can fairly benefit from their work. This is particularly important in policy-making processes as this enables the crafting of good policies through the use of evidence thereby putting research evidence at the epicentre of development. Open data not only promotes the much-needed impetus to creativity and innovativeness but also democracy and transparency including civic participation and engagement in the development agenda.

ZeipNET regularly hosts the local (Zimbabwe) satelite event to the OpenCon Conference and partners local universities and research institutes in various activities during Open Access Week in Zimbabwe. Other programmes promote open access resources in government and initiatives to raise awareness on 'open government' so that citizens can freely access public information thereby being informed and make government accountable. ZeipNET is working on developing online platforms and resources to support engaged online communities of practice for both research and policy communities.

Our Work In Pictures


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