Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Free the analysis! New Policy at the Center for Global Development

The World Bank freed their data last year because data is a public good. Now, the Center for Global Development (CGD) is taking this one step further. Freeing the analysis.

The Center for Global Development is, in my humble opinion, a place where the envelope is pushed. Not only does CGD provide high quality analysis but now they will also publish the code and the data (with some exceptions) behind that analysis so that anyone can come in, replicate the process and check the quality. They admit that this is a rather uncomfortable process as nobody likes to have their long hard published work corrected in the public domain.

However, they have seen the need to put themselves out there for public debate with the knowledge that there are bugs in analysis and they want them caught. Clearly, they would also like to set a precedent.

Admirable indeed. We here at Wikiprogess are impressed.

These are some of the benefits that transparency allows according to their policy:

• It makes analysis more credible.

• It makes CGD more credible when it calls on other organizations, such as aid agencies, to be transparent.

• Data and code are additional content, appreciated by certain audiences.

• Increases citation of CGD publications—by people using associated data sets.

• It curates, saving work that otherwise tends to get lost as the staff turns over.

• Preparing code and data for public sharing improves the quality of research: researchers find bugs.

• In short term, CGD’s leadership in transparency will differentiate it from its peers. In the long term (one hopes), CGD’s leadership will raise standards elsewhere.

See full policy here.


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