Policy Guidance and Advice

GODAN has participated in the creation of two helpful tools to guide users through the relatively unexplored processes of creating open data policies, and producing agricultural data codes of conduct:

Agricultural Data Code of Conduct Toolkit

Codes of conduct are a recent construct, setting much-needed guidelines and common standards on the transparent governance of farm data, over which there is currently very little official legislation. Launched 20 May, 2020, this NEWLY CREATED online toolkit provides the conceptual basis for general, scalable guidelines for everyone dealing with the production, ownership, sharing and use of data in agriculture.

Open Up Guide for Agriculture

The Open Up Guide for Agriculture, created by GODAN and the Open Data Charter, aims to help governments to prioritise and publish relevant datasets for agricultural development. It provides guidance on key elements of opening datasets in agriculture. Originally created for policymakers, the Guide seeks to inform users on how open data can make a difference for the agricultural sector and food security: Enabling more efficient and effective decision making to sustainably increase agricultural productivity, creating more resilient food production systems, and combating world hunger.

What is an open data policy, and why are they important?

The creation of an open data policy is an important element of developing strong open data practice. A well written open data policy will clearly define the commitment of the organisation to publishing, sharing and consuming data. The policy will be used by implementing research partners to help prioritise their work on data, and by external stakeholders to understand how an organisation handles data, so that they may look for opportunities to contribute to and use the information (adapted from the Open Data Institute). An open data policy can also help encourage informed reuse of third-party data by researchers and by the donor organisation. Open data and open access policies take on different goals and forms based on the organisation’s particular objectives, institutional design, and operational culture. Although an open data policy is important and defines the commitment of the organisation to open data, it is not absolutely necessary to have a policy before opening data and practicing good data management.

GODAN has built a robust global network of more than 930 partners, from national governments, non-governmental, international and private sector organisations.


Several organisations have data policies, but they are not all identical. They focus on different aspects of openness, as you will see in the following links. Some mandate for open data, others focus on open access, and few focus on open government and open policy. Below are some examples of organisations, companies and national governments that have successfully adopted open data policies.

Research Organisations

CGIAR European Commission BBSRC The Royal Society United Kingdom Research and Innovation

Academic Journals

Elsevier Wiley Springer Nature British Medical Journal

Research Organisations

UK Department for International Development (DfID) United States (Local Governments) Canada France Germany The Open Government Partnership has collated some success stories of open government data. See the Global Open Data Index and the Open Data Barometer to see how countries compare.

Academic Journals

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation The Wellcome Trust changing in 2020.

If you are working on a resource, or would like to add a relevant tool to benefit the open data community, please email GODAN’s Communications Lead. It is within GODAN’s mandate to assist large organisations and governments to create open data policies. If you are interested in assistance, please email enquiries@godan.info.

What is an open data policy, and why are they important?

Although the aforementioned organisations have policies, some have limitations on their usefulness and compliance.

This is not a criticism, but instead a demonstration of the dynamic ecosystem of open data in agriculture and nutrition.

With changing political systems and the emerging issues and opportunities around data, it is important that time and resources be invested in ensuring the sustainability of the policy.

Several pieces have been written on ways current policies could be improved, see one for academic journals and for donors. There are numerous resources and guidelines for creating strong open policies, whether they be for open data, open access, or whatever is appropriate for your organisation. The Open Data Charter - working with the

Open Data Charter team will help you adopt important principles to help you on the way to creating and implementing a policy, based on your specific needs. The Open Data Charter works only with governments.

How to write a good open data policy - The Open Data Institute Open Data Policy Guidelines - Sunlight Foundation Develop your Open Data Policy - Socrata


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