The Accelerated Data Program (ADP) supports developing countries in producing statistical data. It provides technical support to National Statistical Systems and helps strategize data collection activities. It assists in building capacity for micro-data preservation, analysis, anonymization, and dissemination and provides assistance in further exploiting existing datasets.
With these objectives, ADP and OpenMicroData (OMD) share the common objective of enhancing micro-data access.
OpenMicroData supports ADP and by providing independent assessments of the degree to which ADP is able to enhance micro-data access it expects to contribute to strengthening the program.
Approach to ADP assessment
To assess the effectiveness of ADP, OMD carries out six-monthly spot checks of data made available under the ADP program. These spot checks are carried out over a limited period of time (typically 1-day) and consist of four elements:
- a check on the accessibility of the national websites and their data catalogues
- an evaluation of the number of data sets available in the data catalogues
- an evaluation of the ease with which data can be accessed from the catalogue
- a ‘mystery shopper’ attempt to access a randomly selected data set from each data catalogue.
To access a data set, the following approach is used. Where a website allows downloading data following simple registration, this approach is followed. If this is not possible and data are accessible upon request by email, this approach is followed. If the only approach available is by filling in a formal request, this is done. In each instance, one data set is randomly selected for access from the national data catalogue.
First ADP Assessment: July 2010
The first ADP assessment focuses on ADP’s activities in Africa. In Africa, ADP is active in 27 countries of which 14 countries have made data accessible through their website. The assessment concludes thatADP provides a great opportunity to make micro data accessible but also finds that ADP in Africa is not yet living up to its promise.
Only half of the 27 African ADP countries allow data to be accessed through their website. Some of these may never have intended to do so as their participation in ADP was limited to receiving technical advice for surveys. In other instances such as Burkina Faso, Tanzania or Zanzibar the intention is to make data available, but almost two years after signing up to ADP, this has not materialized yet.
Amongst the countries that do make data available, the assessment finds that data access remains limited in that full proposals or email requests are required before a decision is made on access. For 86% of the data sets on offer, access is not granted automatically nor anonymously. Automatic access after registration is only offered for 14% of the data sets, while automatic and anonymous access of the type provided by OpenMicroData is never granted.
The assessment suggests that ADP web-technology is imperfect as evidence by the fact that of 13 attempts to obtain a data set, only 4 (31%) were successful.
The overall conclusion of the assessment is that ADP in Africa has much unrealized potential. To enhance data access it recommend systems are made reliable and the accuracy of the information on websites is improved. The most important recommendation to enhance access is to avoid processes requiring human verification by adopting automated download processes (with or without registration).