Reading List: Impact of Open Company Data


This is the second in an occasional series of resources for background reading on corporate transparency space (see also the beneficial ownership reading list), to help new OpenCorporates staff and the wider open data community get up to speed. These are also works-in-progress, and a call for contributions; tell us what we’ve missed and what else should be covered!


What is Open Data?

Open Definition 2.1, which sets the main international standard, outlines in brief that data “is open if anyone is free to access, use, modify, and share it — subject, at most, to measures that preserve provenance and openness”.

Tracking the Impact of Open Company Data

As Becky Hogge notes in her important report on the impact of open data, tracking impact is tricky. By its nature, open data is resistant to traditional impact reporting; in part because we don’t know exactly how it is being used, and in part because the value chain is so diffuse. So, Hogge argues, outside of sweeping statements about potential, at this stage impact is largely indicated by “fragments” of stories from the ground.

Despite this methodological challenge, we think OpenCorporates has already made many tangible contributions to revealing how power runs through corporate networks. Therefore, in this part of our reading list we’ll keep track of fragments that illustrate the importance of open company data, including anti-corruption investigations, and internal and external impact reports.

External Impact Reports

OpenCorporates’ Impact Reports

Corruption Investigations and Analysis

As always, if you’ve worked on an investigation you’d like to be included, have any suggestions, or would like to use our data, get in touch.

Photo by Alex Jodoin on Unsplash

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