We’ve been doing the shifted narrative for a while now, and have found evidence of the following:
The IATI data standard is a useful, relatively neutral framework to follow if the organisation’s data management history has been problematic or there are political (small p) reasons why different parts of a federation don’t share data between themselves.
We’ve seen that over time (5 years now), organisations with a higher proportion of institutional funding will generally be more willing to invest in changes to accommodate IATI data production, but on their own timescales and within a wider systems update/change. However, some funders aren’t always willing to wait for the data, which is why you get some organisations trying to implement an interim solution such as AidStream or the IATI2CSV Convertor.
We have funders now recognising that the production of IATI data requires investment, and willing to help fund that investment (within proportion).
We have organisations in the UK that are willing to produce IATI as a byproduct of their own data use (Stephen’s point) because they see IATI data as a global public good for international development/humanitarian response. I think this remains a strong reason for engaging with IATI as producers.
So perhaps the maturity of the UK IATI scene means that we’ve got past some of the issues that the US may just be starting to grapple with.
However, I think that Stephen’s point is important. If organisations are not necessarily publishing to use their own data, why would they engage over the longer term?
The following is speaking as myself, not Bond or IATI Board:
I feel that funders’ requiring organisations to use IATI has been a double-edged sword. It’s been useful to require organisations to produce open data on international development projects to support public scrutiny - and IATI at its most elemental provides a good framework to do this.
It’s been far less useful for government funders to see IATI as a means to their own digital innovation and frame it in this context to their partners (funded organisations). And on reflection, maybe it hasn’t been helpful in return to ask funders to justify their own use of their partners’ data as it just reinforced this.
Maybe a better solution would have been to stress IATI as a global public good. Then we would start looking at it from a global network level/scale rather than an individual organisation or government level. One reason why: At the Members Assembly, there were multiple requests from partner countries for help with using the data, and yet there are still only a limited number of ‘pilots’ and technical providers/funding governments helping them. This kind of ‘drip’ effect is too slow, and there other solutions on the horizon that already have the potential to outscale IATI in the medium term.