FEATURE6 October 2021

What is the economic value of trust in data?

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Data analytics Features Impact Technology

Research led by the Open Data Institute has highlighted the importance of building trust and providing assurance in data and data practices. By Olivier Thereaux and Deborah Yates.

Graphic showing two arms embracing

Data, when collected and used well, can be the basis of better decisions, better services and products, and better outcomes for people, organisations and societies. Over the years, many models and studies have attempted to quantify this value of data as an infrastructural enabler and creator of value. Data could, the models show, ‘unlock’ billions or trillions in value, along with a number of less easily quantifiable economic benefits.

At the Open Data Institute (ODI), we have long focused on gathering evidence about the barriers to enabling this value, while creating tools and processes to help foster data practices that avoid harmful impacts.

Our work with companies and governments around the world has shown us time and time again that two centrifugal forces are pushing us away from a healthy data ecosystem. First, a tendency towards data hoarding, with data seldom being accessible to the people who may create value from it. Second, a fear of data, ...