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[liberationtech] Omidyar Network TOR on Open Data Impact

Yosem Companys companys at
Wed Feb 11 12:51:25 PST 2015

From: Laura Bacon <lbacon at>

Terms of Reference #1: Building a Case Study Repository of Open Data Impact
(Part 1 of the Multi-Year Research Project on Open Data: Demand, Use, Impact)

Thematic Area:                 Governance and Citizen Engagement, Open Data
Scope of Project:             Creation of Case Study Repository on
Open Data Impact
POC:                                      Laura Bacon, Principal,
Policy and Advocacy, Governance & Citizen Engagement

About the Organization

Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and his wife, Pam, established
Omidyar Network (ON) in 2004 based on the belief that every person has
the potential to make a difference. Omidyar Network is a philanthropic
investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create
opportunity for people to improve their lives. The organization
invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze
economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed
more than $700 million to for-profit companies and non-profit
organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage
individual participation across five core initiative areas, including
financial inclusion, property rights, government transparency,
consumer Internet and mobile, and education, and several related cross
cutting themes like entrepreneurship and impact investing. To learn
more, please visit We make both private investments
and nonprofit grants, identifying likeminded organizations that we
support, help scale, and collaborate with to help realize their full

About the “Open Data: Demand, Use, Impact” Project

Omidyar Network plans to launch a multi-method, multi-year research
project on “Open Data: Demand, Use, Impact.”[1] This research would
attempt to investigate, clarify, and propose solutions to a market
failure in the transparency and open data fields, in which the supply
and demand sides have been neither aligned nor well-understood.[2]

Omidyar Network’s goal in commissioning this research is threefold: 1)
contribute to the general knowledge base about the demand, use, and
impact of open data; 2) offer practical and actionable recommendations
to policymakers, civil society organizations, and all those in the
business of opening or demanding data; and 3) ground in practice the
grant-making by transparency and accountability funders.

If successful, this project will achieve the following outcomes, which
could benefit governments, multi-stakeholder initiatives, civil
society, journalists, and funders: 1) broad recommendations and
insights about most-valued/demanded datasets; 2) specific policy
recommendations in selected countries around critical data release; 3)
increased understanding of how governments themselves can maximize
open data for their own efficiency and reforms; 4) insights into how
open data can influence governance and improve lives; and 5) an
enhanced understanding of how, precisely, data is transformed into
information, insight, and impact.

Terms of Reference for the multiple research questions are in
development and will be disseminated on a rolling basis. This TOR
describes the first slice of research in this series.

Scope of Work, Project #1 (Repository of Open Data Impact)

ON is seeking to hire a researcher or research team to create a
repository of case studies on the impact of open data. This
retrospective-looking product will answer the question: “Has open data
already had measurable impact?” It will be somewhat similar in nature
to the McKinsey and Lateral Economics reports on open data. However,
it will 1) highlight past and present impact, rather than projected
future value; 2) be clear and rigorous in its definition of “open
data,” 3) potentially involve different methodology and assumptions,
to be proposed by researcher(s) and made transparent in the report.

Reflecting on the past few decades, this repository will ideally
provide 10-20 case studies about the economic, social, political,
cultural and/or environmental impact that open data has already had.
These cases will be presented at public fora, published online,
distributed to relevant networks, and integrated into press articles.

The researcher will select particular sectors and then identify the
most compelling examples of open data use within each. This would
likely include – but is not limited to – the billion-dollar industries
created from opening weather, GPS, and transport data, as well as
other stories on postcode data, contract data, beneficial ownership
data, agricultural data, education data, etc.[3] It is critical that
the research not profile simply “Follow-the-Money” stories but open
data impact in particular.

The research must establish definitions, assumptions, mapping(s) from
the outset. A global perspective is encouraged for the selection of
case studies. The final product could stand alone as a distributable
publication and/or also as a living online repository, to which the
researcher could add community-sourced suggestions as case study
numbers grew.

Key research areas for each case study

·         Who, if anyone, was calling for the data to be released
before it was open (Demand-side)
·         How, specifically, it was released – including stakeholders
involved, those supportive and against, specific leverage points, etc.
·         Who accessed and leveraged the information over time: Users
such as infomediaries, technologies, app developers, government
officials, citizen groups, etc.
·         Specific, rigorously-evidenced economic, social, political,
cultural, and/or environmental impacts. The analysis of impact could
be original calculations and/or reports on other impact studies, to be
proposed by researcher(s). Methodologies for how impact is measured
(qualitative, quantitative) should be explicit within the studies.
·         Status update on where that field and/or dataset(s) stands in 2015

Roles & Responsibilities (overview, also see Scope of Work)

·         ON will collaborate on the research protocol with the
researcher(s), who will be tasked with developing and refining the
·         ON will work the researcher(s) to identify and finalize site
selection for case studies
·         Researcher(s) will be expected to devise and execute
research (including writing to a consistent and user-friendly output
·         Researcher(s) will be responsible for assimilating and
analyzing the research and delivering a report of the findings
·         Researcher(s) will be responsible for revising draft reports
based on edits from the task managers

Please note scope of work is indicative, and final scope will be
co-agreed with the selected researcher(s).

Ownership / Control of Work Materials and Products

All materials produced or acquired during the appointment - written,
graphic, film, digital audio/video or otherwise - shall remain the
property of ON unless and to the extent such rights are explicitly
relinquished (in whole or in part) by ON, in writing. ON furthermore
retains the exclusive right to publish or disseminate in all languages
reports arising from such materials. In the event of early termination
of the appointment or non-renewal upon its expiration, the
researcher(s) shall, if requested by ON, deliver to it copies of all
materials and data developed with ON funds. Any material developed by
the researcher(s) under these TORs may not be used without written
prior approval by ON Task Manager.  All final products will be
licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License:

Budget and Payment

The budget for the contract will be determined as per the quality and
scope of the proposal. Final discretion lies with Omidyar Network.

Payment schedule will be finalized upon contracting, but is likely to
be as per below:

Amount / Milestones

10% / Upon signing contract
60% / Draft report with outcomes of analysis, preliminary insights
30% / Final deliverable

Proposal Content and Timeline:

We are looking for a concise and clear proposal that clearly includes
the following:

·         Researcher(s) Credentials:

o   1-3 examples of similar past projects undertaken (with links/samples)
o   Approximate time commitment by researcher(s), by percentage
o   Researcher CV

·         Scope and Methodology of Research and Dissemination:

o   Proposed case studies (partial list), with proposed research methods
o   Draft outline of final product
o   Travel logistics (if necessary) and access criteria
o   Design / visualization needs (if necessary)
o   Extent of analysis / synthesis of research outputs
o   Dissemination plans and details

·         Deliverables and Timelines:

o   Key dates and timelines: interim and final delivery of outputs
o   Proposed opportunities around launch event(s), conferences, panels
at which to share final product (e.g., Open Data Conference in Ottawa
in May 2015, OGP global summit in October 2015)

·          Detailed Costing:

o   Detailed table with research costs, travel, time, design, production, etc.

First round of calls: Please submit all proposal materials via email
to Laura Bacon (lbacon at by 20 Feb 2015.

[1] For more, request concept note from Laura Bacon (lbacon at

[2] Market failure = A situation where, in any given market, the
quantity (or quality) of a product demanded by consumers does not
equate to the quantity (or quality) supplied by suppliers.

[3] The ON GCE Policy & Advocacy team started to compile a preliminary
list, so this chapter could involve fleshing out those examples.


Laura Bacon
Principal, Investments | Government Transparency

main: +44 (0) 207 729 9997
mobile: +44 (0) 776 501 3397

Omidyar Network
Charlotte House, 1st Floor
47-49 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3QT

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