Sound policies in areas like digitalisation, globalisation, sustainability, well-being, can only be developed on the basis of solid evidence. Developing good evidence requires tapping into more data sources, continuing to modernise the existing data process, and leveraging advanced data science techniques, all while ensuring that the core value of providing trusted, quality evidence continues. More granular and timelier data help complement existing statistics, enabling micro-level analysis, improving forecasts and nowcasts. Also, combining sources enables multidimensional insight and modelling.
Framework for developing new evidence to meet the policy demand
Meeting the policy demand with data innovation requires continuous investment in data commons, including developing technical, organisational, legal, and human capabilities. The OECD Smart Data strategy is pursuing the development of these capabilities, in close collaboration with OECD members countries and the broader data ecosystem, with two broad goals in mind:
Integrating the Data Cycle: modernising the collection, analysis, processing, dissemination of data, mainly fed by established sources – countries’ statistical or policy reporting. This line of action is focused on increasing the efficiency in data operations, by overcoming fragmentation in tools, processes and data models, and enforcing a “quality by design” approach; harmonisation of data models is the cornerstone enabling data integration, efficiency and accessibility.
Embracing Smart Data: tapping into alternative data sources and mainstreaming data science techniques such as machine learning or text mining. This line of action is focused on augmenting existing evidence (nowcasting) by bringing more granularity (spatially, or according to criteria such as gender or income distribution) and higher frequency, as well as bringing about new correlations and predictors that enable deeper analysis or improved simulation of policy effects and forecasts.
To achieve these goals, the OECD Smart Data Strategy has identified 6 interconnected data commons (data governance, sourcing, platform, quality framework, skills and engagement), where innovation and investment are to take place.
Open ecosystem for data innovation
Smart Data is also about cultivating and connecting open ecosystems for data innovation, connecting experts from International Organisations and member countries, as well as academia, start-ups, NGOs, large digital players, sharing and co-constructing intangible assets (open source, open data, open algorithms and open knowledge) as public goods, ultimately supporting better policy decisions, for better lives.
Cultivating ecosystems also entails co-innovating and co-investing in data commons for organisations sharing common goals – as ambitioned by the Statistical Information System Collaboration Community (SIS-CC): “SIS-CC is a reference open source community for official statistics, focusing on product excellence and delivering concrete solutions to common problems through co-investment and co-innovation”.