We apologize for not sending out a newsletter more recently, but as usual things have been busy here at Global Integrity. With the rush to finish the first round of our Africa Integrity Indicators work, as well as rolling out a set of major upgrades to Indaba these past few months, we’ve been working diligently.
Stepping back a bit, you’ll begin to notice a much more deliberate shift in the way we talk about and structure our work in the coming months and years to better reflect our core strategic priority of driving greater experimentation and innovation in the government transparency and accountability community. We’ll be revamping our website and digital properties to reflect this, but in general you’ll be hearing about four core strategic pillars that will help to organize our activities moving forward:
Our cutting-edge research and data gathering efforts, including strategic data gathering partnerships with friends like the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and World Wide Web Foundation;
I’ve been so proud of our staff and partners these past few months on a range of initiatives where our work has been achieving real impact. In March I was thrilled to represent Global Integrity at Harvard University where our three-way collaboration with the Center for Public Integrity and Public Radio International on the State Integrity Investigation was a finalist for the prestigious Goldsmith Award for investigative journalism. While we “lost” to an epic Chicago Tribune piece, it was a great feeling to be nominated alongside the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. The Times’ now famous “Walmart de Mexico” corruption investigation, also a finalist for the Goldsmith Award, would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize just months later. We were in some good company as runner-ups!
We’ll be making a concerted effort to get these newsletters out more frequently moving forward. As always, if you’re passing through Washington, please let us know so we can show off the OpenGov Hub and the many friends and partners working alongside us; we love it here!
All the best,
Global Integrity tapped to collaborate on the Web Index 2013
Global Integrity has partnered with the World Wide Web Foundation to help generate the 2013 Web Index, the first multi-dimensional measure of the Web’s use, utility and impact. We’re helping to bring to bear our decade-plus experience in fielding expert assessment surveys along with Indaba in strengthening the underlying methodology and results.
In 2012, the Web Index covered 61 countries, incorporating indicators that assess the political, economic and social impact of the Web; in 2013 coverage will be increased to roughly 80 countries. The Web Index is a tool that helps advocates and policy analysts draw upon actionable measures to identify impediments and track improvements in Web access and affordability. The Web Index also helps inform decision-makers and regulators as to what changes can be made to Web governance in country to help achieve greater and more sustainable development outcomes.
Global Integrity has been tapped to recruit and manage in-country teams in 81 countries to score the “expert survey” portion of the underlying indicators that comprise the index.
Some of the countries included in this year’s project are Venezuela, Mali, Burkina Faso, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Norway, UAE, Qatar, Jamaica, Zambia, Thailand, New Zealand, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay and Canada. We could still use some help in Finland, New Zealand, Qatar and Namibia; please reach out if you know anyone in those countries with expertise in IT/Web issues who might be interested in joining our team!
Indaba data collection suite upgraded
With the help of existing Indaba user insights, we performed a series of platform upgrades focused on functionalities and user interface enhancements. The major change to the platform includes a whole new interface, Control Panel, which allows project managers and support staff to build key components of their work (uploading questions, creating reusable surveys, adding project contributors and units of analysis) without the direct support of Global Integrity staff.
We also improved the user experience in Fieldwork Manager, the Indaba tool used by field contributors and project managers to amass data in an organized fashion. It is our hope that changes to this part of Indaba will greatly enhance the data collection process. Now project managers can assign tasks to users from a “queue” system, which intelligently filters through hundreds of tasks per project. Managers can also now “swap” different people from one job to another to suit the needs of the project.
These changes have given us the ability to recently launch new projects with partner organizations much faster, including:
The compilation of 2012 Budget Transparency Data for States and Municipalities in Mexico by the Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad (IMCO)
Índice Nacional de los OGDAI 2013 through a joint collaboration between México – ARTICLE 19 and México Infórmate.
An Access to Information Pilot Study carried out by The Carter Center
A Right to Information Pilot Index carried out by Article 19
Some exciting new projects that will be launching in the next few weeks are:
A review of commitments made by Open Government Partnership (OGP) countries carried out by the OGP – Independent Reporting Mechanism
The 2013 Web Index by the World Wide Web Foundation
All of these projects now have access to a more robust Indaba platform, which we hope will serve as a useful gateway into deeper partnerships with these organizations. If you are carrying out large-scale research and data collection projects, Indaba can help you simplify them. For more info, please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].
Testing 123 Innovation Fund Announces Investees
Last September, we put out a global call for brand new ideas that target the challenges of transparency and accountability in government. Of the 311 submissions received, we selected five for investment. Watch a video of them here.
And the five investees are (in no particular order):
Simply Visualizing Politics – Macedonia Simply Visualizing Politics is a dynamic visualization of changes in the views of Macedonian politicians over time.
In using text-based mining techniques to sift through the records of debates in the Macedonian parliament, the application aims to collect and display trends to inform voters about the interests of their political leaders and the issues they support.
What we’re interested in testing: whether algorithmically driven data mining techniques can be used to pick up otherwise imperceptible but meaningful patterns in political behavior.
Hidden Agenda – Spain Hidden Agenda is a photo-based storytelling platform that seeks to make public top government officials’ daily schedules in Spain.
In a “Pinterest meets They Rule” fashion, images will be crowd sourced and used to tell visually compelling stories exposing lobbying efforts that lay under the radar but remain in the public interest.
What we’re interested in testing: whether engaging citizens in visual data collection and tying it to reporting efforts can raise awareness for creating legislative reform.
Veritza.org – USA/Serbia Vertiza.org is a real-time corruption alert system that leverages automated “mashups” of disparate datasets to potentially reveal corruption-prone patterns.
What we’re interested in testing: whether a passive, “autopilot” approach of letting algorithms scrub disparate government datasets can usefully predict potential instances of corruption or abuse of power.
Planizacija.rs: Accessing Urban Development Regulations – Serbia Accessing Urban Development Regulations is an online platform that will house a collection of pertinent regulatory documents for urban development in Serbia. It will bring together technical policy materials and shape them into publically understandable and accessible tools for citizen engagement in urban planning.
What we’re interested in testing: whether centralizing and distilling regulations that dictate community planning encourages citizens to push for development in favor of the public interest.
Police-Citizens Protocol – Mexico Police-Citizens Protocol is an approach designed to mitigate corruption in law enforcement in Mexico by distilling existing sets of complex law enforcement rules, which police officers in Mexico City are expected to follow, into simpler versions that citizens can invoke when approached unlawfully by law enforcement officers.
What we’re interested in testing: whether government buy-in to enhanced citizen participation in accessing their legal rights can effectively mitigate law enforcement abuses.
Testing 123 investees are diving right into prototyping their ideas over the next six months. We’ll be happily documenting and sharing what we see and learn along the way.
First round of Africa Integrity Indicators complete!
Another major collaborative effort of ours, a five-year partnership with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to generate original data on governance issues in all 54 African countries, reached a major milestone in March with the delivery of a first round of original data from 51 of 54 African countries. A huge amount of effort went into this herculean effort by colleagues in both our Cape Town and Washington offices, and we’re already gearing up for round 2. Following the delivery of the second round of data to the foundation in early-2014, these datasets will begin feeding directly into future iterations of the Ibrahim Index on African Governance. Stay tuned for more details as we roll out and disseminate the first round of research…