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6 Feb 2022

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Access to data is barrier to digital economies of developing countries

The Research Data Alliance (RDA) is accelerating a program to reduce gaps between developed and developing countries when it comes to data availability, access, use, and distribution. These differences impede the growth of digital economies in both Western nations and developing countries.

The Research Data Alliance (RDA) was launched in 2013 by the European Commission, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Department of Innovation of Australia with the purpose of building the social and technical infrastructure for open sharing and re-use of data.

A new charter document published on the alliance's website says data and statistics on issues such as poverty, education, health, fragile states, pandemics, or natural disasters will help spur innovation and research based on data. However, developing countries face several bottlenecks, such as inadequate infrastructure, illiteracy, and a lack of willingness by governments, private sector, and civil society to make data and statistics readily available.

Platform for data

The Data for Development Interest Group of the alliance promotes access to and usage of data for the benefit of developing countries, especially vulnerable groups. Among the vulnerable populations in developing countries are rural poor, indigenous people, women, elderly people, immigrants, and children born of war.

The objective of this interest group is to ensure interoperable data for the development of low-income countries and vulnerable populations. In order to achieve this goal, the interest group will create a platform to promote data and statistics. To this end, the interest group is reaching out to academic research institutions, research networks, organizations, and government agencies worldwide to establish partnerships and a foundation for collaboration.

Photo credit: Dami Akinbode

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