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Data Dump 1

Contents

  1. Libraries

This is the raw, unedited sources and some blog ideas, for those that don’t want to wait. This is, Data Dump 1.

As if the journalism job landscape weren’t terrifying enough, now you’ve got to think about learning to code. It’s yet another new media skill you’ll need to stay ahead of competitors. And make no mistake: they’re stockpiling O’Reilly books.
In 2006, when news-app coder Adrian Holovatycalled for more programmers in American newsrooms, he didn’t get much response. But a few years and newspaper bankruptcies later, writers seem to be awakening to the advantages of learning to develop web apps or hack together quick scripts to handle labor-intensive data collection tasks. Swept up in the nerdy trend are such writers as…

  • Nick Bilton, New York Times: He might be lead blogger on Bits, the Times tech blog, but Bilton has also worked as a user interface specialist and hardware hacker in the TimesR&D lab, helping to develop the TimesReader. He also knows his way around a C compiler.
  • Taylor Buley,Forbes: Just publicly accepted a new job as “Staff Writer and Editorial Developer,” according to the Gorkana newsletter. “In his new role, he will write both storiesand code.” In C# — always so conservative, those Forbes guys.
  • Jennifer 8. Lee, formerNew York Times: As a reporter, Lee made her name as a pioneer in the art of the “conceptual scoop” (man dates and all that). But before she started in professional journalism, Lee was an applied math major at Harvard. Last April, she started learning to code, and now writes the occasional burst of Python (which happens to be one of the key languages at Google, where boyfriend Craig Silverstein is technology director). Rumor has it she may be joining or founding some kind of web journalism startup.
  • Cody Brown, NYU Local: After starting a lively hyperlocal university news site at NYU and penning some way-better-than-average new media meditations, film major Brown started work on a startup called Kommons. And he’s begun the New Year by learning the Rails web development framework for the Ruby programming, presumably to get Kommons going.
  • Elizabeth Spiers, novelist, consultant, started Dealbreaker, blogged for Gawkerwhen it was good: The former Wall Street analyst blogged two days ago that she’s learning Python as part of a concerted effort to pick up new skills. By auditing an MIT classover the internet, no less. No idea what apps she’ll be writing but we can’t wait to read her arch code comments, and the take-no-prisoners documentation.

Learning to program is yet another way journalists are becoming generalists, more like pamphleteer, typesetter, postmaster and newspaper publisher Ben Franklin and his fellow ink-stained polymaths than highly specialized publishing types like Bob Woodward, Annie Leibovitz or Mario Garcia. Your typical professional blogger might juggle tasks requiring functional knowledge of HTML, Photoshop, video recording, video editing, video capture, podcasting, and CSS, all to complete tasks that used to be other people’s problems, if they existed at all: production, design, IT, etc.
Coding is the logical next step down this road, albeit one that might only appeal to more ambitious or technically-minded journalists, the sort of people who want to launch their own websites, or attach a truly powerful and interactive feature to an existing one.You don’t have to look far to see how programming can grow naturally out of writing. Take Gawker Stalker. Launched by Spiers on a whim in 2003, it became a weekly column, then a more frequent feature, its own section and, eventually, an interactive map powered by Google‘s API. With some additional coding, it’s now updateddirectly by the users. (Inexplicably, we’ve removed the map, however.)

As Clay Shirkyhas written, part-time programmers can make up in domain knowledge what they lack in raw technical skill. In the 2004 essay Situated Software, the NYU professor wrote about how surprised he was to see his students’ social software become popular in spite of its hackiness:

I told myself that [the code] had succeeded for a number of reasons that were vaguely unfair: The users knew the programmers; the names database had been populated in advance; the programmers could use the in-house mailing list to launch the application…


The designers came from the same population as the users, and could thus treat their own instincts as valid; beta-testers could be recruited by walking down the hall; and it kept people from grandiose “boil the ocean” attempts. What I hadn’t anticipated was the second-order benefits. Time and again the groups came up against problems that they solved in part by taking advantage of social infrastructure or context-sensitive information…Shirky goes on to postulate that programming, as a craft, will become more democratized. In other words, journalists will do to programming what programmers’ blogging platforms have done to journalism: saturate the industry with unpaid amateurs.

Gartner recently caused a stir by saying there would be 235,000 fewer programmers in the US ten years from now. This would have been like predicting in the 80s, that there would be fewer typists in the US by 2004. Such a prediction would be true in one sense — the office typing pool has disappeared, and much data entry work has moved overseas. But actual typing, fingers hitting the keyboard, has not disappeared, it has spread everywhere.


So with programming; though all the attention is going to outsourcing, there’s also a lot of downsourcing going on, the movement of programming from a job description to a more widely practiced skill. If by programmer we mean “people who write code” instead of “people who are paid to write code”, the number of programmers is going to go up, way up, by 2015, even though many of the people using perl and JavaScript and Flash don’t think of themselves as programmers.

Sorry, professional programmers: Disintermediation is a bitch, isn’t it? On other hand, if the first wave attacking your profession is a bunch of journalists, well, you probably don’t have to start sweating anytime soon.
(Top pic: Bilton in the Times R&D lab, by Dennis Crowley. Bottom pic: Shirky at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, by Sean Salmon)

Source: http://gawker.com/5448635/’

 

Journalists of the future need data skills, says Berners-Lee

Inventor of the world wide web says that the stories of the future won’t come from chatting in bars but from poring over rows of data. Do you agree – and is that what students are learning?


The tax database, visualised. Will future journalists create this? Photograph: guardian.co.uk
Are you ready to be a journalist of the future? Better get your head wrapped around the idea of data, then, says Sir Tim Berners-Leewho, you know, invented the world wide web (which as you also know is not the same as the entire internet).
This morning at the release of huge tracts of government data about spending, a panel including Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and Berners-Lee were asked who would analyse such data once the excited geeks had moved onto more interesting tasks (perhaps building the next Facebook).
Berners-Lee’s response: “the responsibility needs to be with the press. Journalists need to be data-savvy. These are the people whose jobs are to interpret what government is doing to the people. So it used to be that you would get stories by chatting to people in bars, and it still might be that you’ll do it that way some times. But now it’s also going to be about poring over data and equipping yourself with the tools to analyse it and picking out what’s interesting. And keeping it in perspective, helping people out by really seeing where it all fits together, and what’s going on in the country.”
“Data-driven journalism is the future,” he concluded. To which his colleague Nigel Shadbolt, who with Berners-Lee has been working to get the civil service and local government to open up their data, added “Well, part of the future.”
So – do you know what you need to know about working with data? Do you believe Berners-Lee? Given that the Guardian and the Telegraph have journalists who spend their entire time working on data, that the Times has its own labs, do you know your CSV from your RDF, your Python from your PHP, and would you know where to look for an API? Or is Berners-Lee being too geeky?

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/organgrinder/2010/nov/19/berners-lee-journalism-data

Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualization techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists. Some newsrooms are already beginning to retool their staffs and systems to prepare for a future in which data becomes a medium. But how do we communicate with data, how can traditional narratives be fused with sophisticated, interactive information displays?

http://datajournalism.stanford.edu/index.html

Open data was a field of curiosity, but with more and more administrations opening up their data in France, it’s a bit disappointing. The datasets being made open are not as interesting as we thought they’d be. And the more interesting ones are kept hidden in administration’s computers.

Source: http://datadrivenjournalism.net/news_and_analysis/the_year_in_data_journalism_qa_with_alexandre_lechenet

Vetting Citizen Journalism

It’s an emerging craft, one that combines an eye for a good story with a flair for connecting the dots and, above all, a human touch.’

By Lila King

Scene from a fuel subsidy protest in Idaban, Nigeria. Image courtesy CNN iReport.

The conversation on the desk usually goes like this: “Wow. Did you see this iReport? Incredible.”Join the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #NRTruth

“Yeah, no kidding. But how are we going to vet it?”

The answer in broad strokes: It’s an emerging craft, one that combines an eye for a good story with a flair for connecting the dots and, above all, a human touch.

Vetting is the heart of iReport, CNN’s platform for citizen journalism. You won’t see iReports on television or on CNN.com (outside the special iReport section, that is) before they’ve been fact checked and cleared.

The vetting process is rigorous and sometimes time-consuming. It usually starts with a phone call, most often from the iReport desk in Atlanta, where eight full-time producers tab through hundreds of incoming photos and videos every day, looking for the ones we think will make an impact.

At iReport we use a variety of tools: CNN-ers in the field, subject-matter experts, affiliate networks, and local media. We cross-
check what we learn from citizen journalists with other social media reports.About 8 percent of contributions are selected for vetting, a process that also alerts TV and digital producers there will likely be an element ready to go later in the day. Vetted iReports often turn into interview segments on air or quotes in stories you read online.

One morning in January, for example, iReport producer Christina Zdanowicz hit the desk to find scores of new photos and videos showing protests over increased fuel prices in Nigeria. Often when similar stories pile up on iReport, they’re connected to a news event CNN is already on top of, like a natural disaster or a big political rally. The Nigerian iReports took us a bit by surprise—CNN was not yet reporting this so iReport was asked to sketch out the story.

Verifying Reports

One important contribution wasa video showing a protestin the streets of Ibadan, Nigeria, earlier that morning. To investigate the authenticity of the clip, Zdanowicz reached out to the Ibadan iReporter, a 24-year-old pharmacist named Boma Tai. He described when and where and why the protest was happening and who was participating.

All good and useful detail, but there was a catch: He wasn’t just observing, he was participating, and he shared footage of the event because he wanted “the world to know in raw and unedited terms what is going on in Nigeria … the poor are suffering!” So we decided to see what other context we could find to fill out the story.

Most of the video we see of protests and similar news events is like the Ibadan clip: it comes from someone in the heart of the story, with a very subjective view of events. No surprise, of course, because iReport and most social media platforms are built for sharing the moments of your life.

At CNN we see it as our responsibility to add context and analysis to what we use from iReport and other social media platforms. That’s why with the Nigeria protest, the iReport team continued to make calls all morning to iReport contributors who’d seen similar protests in Lagos and Abuja and Benin City.

Then we worked with a reporter at CNN International who connected the details we’d researched with comments from the local police, the office of President Goodluck Jonathan, and the economic and historic context of fuel price subsidies in Nigeria. Together, the citizen journalism, our research, and the reporter’s contributions formed a comprehensive storythat provided images and video of the protests as well as news analysis explaining the context and why this was happening.

In a number of ways, the Nigerian protest story is a simple example. After talking to dozens of people about the same events, it wasn’t a huge leap to say that we believed they had happened, even though CNN didn’t have a reporter on the ground to witness them.

The challenge was different when a teenage girl posted a video on iReport showing her being bullied. We verified it the old-fashioned way—by talking with her family and school officials and tracking down police reports.

And when a South Carolina woman started posting biting—and popular—webcam commentariesabout the 2012 Republican presidential primary race, the vetting process wasn’t so much about getting inside her head and verifying whether she really thinks the things she said. It was more about figuring out who she is and how she got to the point of posting videos of her commentary and saying that plainly and clearly to our audience.

At iReport we use a variety of tools: CNN-ers in the field, subject-matter experts, affiliate networks, and local media. We cross-check what we learn from citizen journalists with other social media reports.

We also use technology, which can’t prove if a story is reliable but offers helpful clues. For example, we often check photo metadata to find timestamps and sometimes location data about the source photo or ask a photographer to share the previous or next 10 images from her camera. We also occasionally send an image through a service like TinEyeto help determine whether it shows signs of alteration.

That’s the journalism part—figuring out what you need to add to a video or photo that you find on the Internet to make sense of it and to help someone else understand why it matters.

Building Community

But there is also the community part: Vetted iReports are a giant Rolodex of stories and people to follow up on. This March when the world marked the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, CNN asked the iReporters who had shared footage of that event for updates on how they were faring. The resultis as tender a portrait as you’ll read in an anniversary piece.

More than offering immediate firsthand glimpses of breaking news, the community we are building may be the real secret behind iReport’s success. Our platform provides an open door to participating in the news to almost anyone who cares to enter, and a growing number of people from all over the world are doing just that; as of May 2012, there were more than one million registered iReporters.

CNN’s iReport invited viewers to submit questions for first lady Michelle Obama.

Outside of vetting, the iReport team in Atlanta spends the majority of its time dreaming up ways to invite that community—both existing and future members—to take part in what CNN is doing. For example, we’ve come up with new models, such as a recent community-driven interview with first lady Michelle Obamaor a mash-up video of footage shot by people in various cities and countries on a single day in March.

We discovered early on that it wasn’t enough to wait for news to break and hope people might think to contribute (and set off the vetting process). iReport today is a highly collaborative effort among professional journalists, eyewitnesses and passionate participants to tell the full breadth of news stories as they unfold and to reinvent the process together as we go.

source: http://nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/102767/Vetting-Citizen-Journalism.aspx


Open Their Eyes: How the Open Access Movement has Changed the
Scholarly Publishing World for Academics
Margaret A. Driscoll
LIBR 287-05: The Open Movement and Libraries  
San Jose State University
School of Library and Information Science  
November 4, 2009 Introduction
The scholarly publishing world is somewhat secretive and mysterious.  It is especially mysterious to
those who exist outside of it, but even tenured college faculty members have been confused by the
process and impact of publishing.  For many years there have been specific expectations and procedures
for conducting research in the sciences and humanities, and even more specific policies for writing,
submitting, and having one’s end product accepted.  Scholars must also consider the role of publishing
in their career advancement, from meeting tenure requirements to being considered for merit
promotion.  The value of various publishing venues is discipline‐specific, which can be confusing in an
ever‐growing interdisciplinary world.  Additionally, academic scholars have had to rely on traditional
impact factors (citation counts) of various journals as indicators of how likely their research would be
taken forward and cited in subsequent research.   
To add to the confusion, the world of scholarly publishing is undergoing significant upheaval.  Cassella
and Calvi (2009) identified a large set of ’disruptive forces’ impacting scholarly publishing: technological,
economic, distributional, geographic, interdisciplinary, social forces, and above all, the critical mass of
open access content.”  The Open Access (OA) movement specifically has been made possible by
developing technologies that allow for digital delivery of documents.  Peter Suber provided a
comprehensive definition: “Open‐access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most
copyright and licensing restrictions.   What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the
author or copyright‐holder. “ (Cornwell & Suber, 2008)
While providing free access to scholarship, some aspects of publishing in OA journals have proven
challenging to scholars, while other aspects of OA journals provide compelling incentives as publishing
venues.  Librarians act on behalf of scholars; but in addition to assisting with resources, librarians can
also provide information and eye‐opening insights regarding the changing landscape of scholarly
publishing.
2The Advent of Scholarly Publishing
Scholarly publishing officially began in 1665 when the first issue of Philosophical Transactions from the
Royal Society of London was printed.  This journal holds the distinction of being the world’s oldest
scientific journal in continuous publication.  The function of this landmark journal, as well as the whole
of academic publishing, in fact, continues to be to inform interested readers of the latest scientific
discoveries and researched scholarly thought.  The early principles of how research was to be
disseminated and the concept of peer review were established by this journal; therefore, they have a
long heritage worthy of respect. (“Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London ‐ About,”
2009)   
Although the first OA journals came onto the scene as early as 1987, a significant struggle for acceptance
by academic scholars has been underway.  (Kiernan, 2000; Sweeney, 2001)  OA journals have not yet
been fully embraced as a means through which researchers can disseminate their findings as well as
receive recognition for tenure and promotion.  The struggle has been focused on two important
elements of scholarly publishing: peer review and journal impact, both of which are also experiencing
significant change.
Peer Review
Scholars around the world have long considered the presence of a rigorous peer review process to be an
essential factor in journal quality and importance.  Review by peers confirms that a) the research
methods employed are appropriate to the project and are properly controlled, and b) conclusions made
by the researcher are soundly supported by the actual research conducted.  The presence of a peer
review/referee policy sets the stage to define a journal’s quality and reliability.    
Electronic publishing of scholarly journals preceded the OA movement.  Opinions on electronic
publishing were at best neutral and in many cases negative as compared to print publications in the late
31990s. (Speier, Palmer, Wren, & Hahn, 1999)  The report noted that “faculty respondents did not
perceive the electronic journals to be of as high quality as their paper counterparts.”  (p. 541) Responses
in this survey were, however, significantly more favorable towards established, well‐respected print
journals that had evolved to include an electronic format.  Thus, it is clear that the opinion of electronic
journals at that time was based on the perceived quality of the journal itself rather than the digital
format per se.  The role of publishing in peer reviewed/refereed publications to the tenure, promotion,
and merit review process was given the highest importance by survey respondents (p. 541).   
While established scholarly journals expanded their publications to include the digital realm as an
additional access point for print and database subscription holders, the OA movement ushered in a bevy
of journals which were published exclusively online and digital and were openly available without
subscription.  Due to the newness of OA journal publishing, it was often unclear whether these online,
freely available journals were peer reviewed or refereed.  Additionally, the peer review process opened
up to a variety of models.
Open Access and Peer Review
In 2003 the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) was launched by Lund University with funding
from the Open Society Institute (OSI) and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition
(SPARC) to “increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific journals, therefore promoting
their increased usage and impact.” (“Directory of Open Access Journals ‐ About,” 2009)  DOAJ was
implemented in two phases: the directory itself and then a comprehensive search system for article‐
level content discovery.  At launch DOAJ contained information on 350 OA journals and defined them as
quality controlled scientific and scholarly electronic journals that are freely available on the web.”
(“Directory of Open Access Journals ‐ About,” 2009)  By May 2006 DOAJ titles passed the 2,000 mark
(“DOAJ Titles — Pass 2,000,” 2006), and recently it was announced that DOAJ now includes 4,000
journals. (Bjornshauge & Johansson, 2009)   
4Given the neutral‐to‐negative perception of digital content mentioned previously, it is not surprising,
however, that scholars might miss the fact that from the start DOAJ saw their mission as representing
only quality controlled electronic journals.  But what does ‘quality controlled’ mean in the digital world?  
Are OA journals peer reviewed or refereed?   To determine whether DOAJ’s expressed ‘quality control’
could be easily ascertained journal by journal, I conducted a review of DOAJ titles by academic discipline
(see Appendix).  Data was obtained by visiting each journal’s website to locate information regarding a
peer review process.  Due to my own personal language barriers, only journal websites which had such
information presented in English were included in the statistics.  A review of the data shows that the
extent to which the OA journals post peer review process and policy information varies by discipline, but
overall approximately 70% of them do so, thus validating DOAJ’s claim to representing quality controlled
OA journals.   
Over time DOAJ has become a standard for libraries wishing to provide access to OA journals accessible
on the open internet due to its phenomenal growth.  Many academic libraries program DOAJ into their
link resolvers so that researchers have access to articles published in these OA journals alongside articles
published in established print journals indexed by subscription databases.  Providing access to OA
journal articles in this manner not only serves as endorsement of their scholarly value, but also acts as
promotion of their existence.  Librarians could go a step further by encouraging scholars to consider
publishing in the OA venue.
With peer review being such a significant concern for academics wishing to publish, it seems warranted
that all OA journals clearly post the policies and processes which make them ‘quality controlled,’
including a description of what type of peer review process is used.  Hodgkinson (2007) outlined various
types of open review in practice:
Traditional – before publishing, by expert
5∙ Open – before publishing, by expert, reviews available for readers; after publishing, comments by
readers allowed (i.e., BMJ)
Open and permissive – before publishing, at least three reviews (whether positive or negative) of
editorial board members, reviews available for readers; after publishing, comments by readers
allowed (i.e., Biology Direct)
Community – manuscript is public while discussed by community (and reviewed by invited
reviewers), afterwards the final version is published (i.e., Journal of Interactive Media in Education,
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics)
Permissive, post‐publication commentary – minimal criteria for acceptance of paper; after
publication scientific community comments and annotates articles (i.e., PloS ONE)
No peer review, post‐publication commentary (i.e., Nature Proceedings, Philica)
Given the vast disparity in control and review methods indicated by these policies, it becomes even
more important for OA journals to specify how submitted materials are reviewed and juried.  
Hodgkinson further stated, “I think that if there is doubt in the integrity of peer review (and there is
more and more doubt), this increases the imperative for exposing pre‐publication review processes.”  It
may at times be valid for scholars to question whether publishing in OA journals will represent their
authority and the importance of their research to their peers and administrators, but this need not be
the case if pre‐publication information is comprehensive and available.   
Impact Factor
Researchers have long hoped that their findings would have an effect on both current and future
intellectual inquiry.  The effect or ‘impact’ they seek is measured by the degree to which their work is
seen, read, used, built‐upon, cited, and applied by other researchers in the discipline.  (Harnad, 2003, p.
139)  A number of proprietary international indexes (i.e., ISI Web of Science) have evolved to report the
impact of individual academic journals.  These indexing organizations have developed citation tracking
algorithms to calculate the ‘impact factor’ of various journals based on the number of times articles
published therein are cited in subsequent published literature.  The impact factor of a journal as a whole
6will determine its prestige in comparison with other journals in the discipline, and thus a hierarchy is
created based on desirability for researchers’ submission of work.  Additionally, it should be noted that
the proprietary impact factor indexes are discipline‐specific and are generally not available without paid
subscription, thus adding to the mystery of scholarly publishing.
The proprietary indexes register and calculate citations for a rolling two year period after initial article
publication; thus new journals, regardless of format, are inherently handicapped.  This has made it
extremely difficult for new journals, whether digital or print, to enter the high‐stakes game of publishing
important research by eminent academics.  Since OA journals were all inherently new on the scholarly
publishing scene early in the game, this more severely affected their ability to compete and become
accepted by scholars based on traditional impact factors.   
In regard to the impact factor of new OA journals, it is interesting to note that entire editorial boards of
print journals resigned and established OA journals in protest against high prices and limited online
access policies.  Suber (2008) compiled a list of journal declarations of independence which began as
early as 1989, and SPARC published “Declaring Independence” in 2001 to offer information and
assistance to scientists wishing to exercise control of their journals.  One would think that these
experienced editorial boards would guarantee the high quality of any newly established OA journals
immediately, but I’m unsure whether this was indeed the case.   
New ways of looking at the research impact of OA journals have been and continue to be explored.
(Armbruster, 2009; Banks & Dellavalle, 2008; Harnad & Brody, 2004; Saxby, Creaser, Nicholas,
Huntington, & Jamali, 2006) Lawrence (2001) presented the first major findings regarding the increased
impact effect of online journal articles (not specifically OA journals), and Harnad (2003) clearly explained
that the true research impact of open access was vastly superior to that of the classic impact for print
journals.  Understanding that new research builds on existing research, as indeed all creative works build
7on the past, the level of access to research is important in calculating the impact it can have.  Harnad
contended that the limited access of subscription‐based print journals caused limited research impact.  
The complete cycle for print publications takes 12 to 18 months, not counting the length of time actually
conducting research.  Along with costly subscription requirements, the research‐to‐publication cycle
plays a part in limiting the research impact of print journals.  Unlimited access, Harnad further stated,
leads to greater research impact.  Compared to print journals, electronic and OA journals have a much
shorter research‐to‐publication cycle, thus making findings available more quickly in addition to being
freely available without costly subscription.  Several studies reviewed by Harnad in 2003 indicated that
for equivalent articles available by open‐access (including self‐archiving in OA repositories) compared to
subscription access, the impact was increased on average 336%.  More recently Bhat (2009) looked at
the influence of peer review on citations in the OA environment and found that refereed articles were
cited twice as often as (non‐refereed) working papers.   
An excellent resource for following the impact factors of scholarly publications in the sciences is
maintained by The Open Citation Project located at http://opcit.eprints.org. (“The effect of open access
and downloads (‘hits’) on citation impact: a bibliography of studies,” 2009)  Another excellent resource
on impact factors is Eigenfactor.org.  In addition to covering both natural and social sciences, thus being
more interdisciplinary, Eigenfactor metrics take into account the entire network of scholarly publishing
by weighing not only the number of citations but also where they come from (i.e., being cited in a
prominent journal carries more weight than being cited in a less prominent journal). (“Eigenfactor.org ‐
Ranking and mapping scientific journals,” 2009) These resources should be promoted to faculty by
academic libraries to open the eyes of scholars regarding the growing access to new and improved
impact factors for journals, including OA journals.   
8Academic Tenure and Promotion
Academic tenure, promotion, and merit policies include an analysis of research, publication, and
presentation as important indicators of faculty activity beyond course development and classroom
instruction.  In the past, educational institutions, especially research‐based universities, have looked at
which specific journals a scholar has been published in to determine merit.  Over the years this practice
has caused scholars to carefully select the journals to which they submit, often ruling out OA journals
due to a perception of lesser quality which could negatively impact their bid for tenure or academic
promotion.
Webber (2005) stated that “It was obvious to me that the universities’ review procedures for tenure and
promotion, or at least committee members’ perceptions of the review procedures, were created during
an era when print journals were the primary publication venue for refereed articles.”  (p. 8)  Since
electronic journals are forcing a reconceptualization of academic publishing, it may be time to
determine exactly what aspects of traditional print publishing continue to warrant consideration for
tenure and promotion, and then balance those aspects with the new possibilities inherent in digital
publishing.  Options available in electronic publications may allow for manuscripts to move beyond text
to utilize more dynamic communication tools such as sound, video, and animation; hence increasing
their value.  Webber proposed a framework for assessing electronic journals and print journals that
takes into account an article’s level of academic quality together with its projected level of impact. (p. 9)  
More recently Mercieca and Macauley (2008) stated that “academic promotion processes may be in
conflict with increasing support for open access modes of publication,” noting that promotion, tenure
and funding allocations are often linked to publication in a few, leading, refereed journals. (p. 244)  In an
effort to expand the scope of academic publication, the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)
initiative drafted a list of 19,533 peer reviewed journals with four tiers of quality rankings based on how
each compares with other journals instead of its relevance or importance in a particular discipline. (p.
9245) OA journals were not fully represented in the ERA list, but further work is being done to increase
the number of OA journals on the list due to new understandings of the research impact of open access
articles.
As stated earlier, journal impact factors have been used to identify whether a scholar has published in a
prestigious venue, and this ranking can affect committee decisions on granting tenure and/or
promotion.  Banks and Dellavalle (2008) identified emerging alternatives to the traditional impact factor
which could be used as new measures of scholarly merit for tenure and promotion.  These alternatives
can be applied to OA journals as well as traditional print publications, thus leveling the playing field for
OA journals.
A growing number of major universities have committed to supporting OA publishing – the worldwide
tally of Open Access mandatory policies reaching 100 with the University of Salford (UK) announcement
in October 2009. (“100th Open Access Mandate Reached!,” 2009)   Additionally five major US
universities have signed a compact to give institutional support for OA journals by underwriting journal
processing fees. (Hadro, 2009)  With the growth in administrative support for digital publishing, there is
no doubt that scholars will take another look at the emerging OA venue.  However, additional work is
being done by the Modern Language Association to encourage tenure committees to be more open to
scholarship that differs from the traditional norms. (Jaschik, 2009)  Rutgers and other universities are
beginning to rewrite their academic promotion policies to include equal weight to electronic publication
(“Academic Reappointments/Promotions,” 2009), which gives indication that eyes are beginning to be
opened to the new role of electronic scholarship.
10Conclusion
The perception of OA journals by scholars and academic institutions has developed into a growing,
although still early and hesitant, acceptance. Librarians can play a crucial role in opening eyes to the
expanding horizons publishing in Open Access journals can offer scholars.  Educational efforts can
include announcing the new and exciting advances in direct access to OA journal articles through library
subscription database searches, providing information on peer review policies and the resulting quality
control of OA journals, linking to emerging metrics for impact factors that take into consideration how
increased access improves research impact, and encouraging new directions in administrative support
for the free flow of information via OA repositories and electronic publishing which will surely affect
tenure and promotion committee attitudes towards digital scholarship.  

11Appendix
Selected subjects:
Info in
English %
Peer‐Review
Policies Posted %
Arts (31 journals) 22 71.0% 20 90.9%
Performing Arts (17 journals) 15 88.2% 7 46.7%
Visual Arts (7 journals) 4 57.1% 3 75.0%
Business and Management (93 journals) 70 75.3% 38 54.3%
General Works
Multidisciplinary (57 journals) 41 71.9% 34 82.9%
Health Sciences
Nursing (28 journals) 12 42.9% 11 91.7%
Public Health (127 journals) 98 77.2% 69 70.4%
History and Archaeology
Archaeology (22 journals) 14 63.6% 5 35.7%
History (127 journals) 60 47.2% 40 66.7%
Languages and Literatures
Languages and Literatures (158 journals) 80 50.6% 53 66.3%
Linguistics (115 journals) 70 60.9% 42 60.0%
Mathematics (139 journals) 128 92.1% 90 70.3%
Political Science (116 journals) 77 66.4% 47 61.0%
Sciences
Genetics (34 journals) 33 97.1% 27 81.8%
Microbiology (35 journals) 30 85.7% 22 73.3%
Physiology (28 journals) 28 100.0% 23 82.1%
Biochemistry (34 journals) 28 82.4% 21 75.0%
Biotechnology (27 journals) 24 88.9% 20 83.3%
Chemistry (General) (70 journals) 59 84.3% 34 57.6%
Environmental Sciences (77 journals) 58 75.3% 46 79.3%
Social Sciences
Education (299 journals) 182 60.9% 147 80.8%
Library and Information Science (96 journals) 40 41.7% 31 77.5%
Psychology (106 journals) 58 54.7% 43 74.1%
Sociology (76 journals) 39 51.3% 27 69.2%
1270 900 70.9%
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IMPLEMENTING IATI
Practical Proposals
By the aidinfo team at Development Initiatives
www.aidinfo.org
www.aidtransparency.net
Final Draft – January 2010www.aidinfo.org
www.aidinfo.org     www.aidtransparency.net                    IMPLEMENTING IATI
IMPLEMENTING IATI
Practical Proposals
January 2010
Final Draft
A study produced for and funded by the International Aid Transparency Initiative
(IATI)
By
Development Initiatives
Keward Court, Jocelyn Drive
Wells, Somerset BA5 1DB
United Kingdomwww.aidinfo.org
www.aidinfo.org     www.aidtransparency.net                    IMPLEMENTING IATI
CONTENTS
ABBREVIATIONS………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………2
TEN DESIRABLE CHARACTERISTICS OF IATI…………………………………………………………………………………………4
BACKGROUND …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..5
CHAPTER ONE: STAKEHOLDER NEEDS …………………………………………………………………………………..2
CHAPTER TWO: PUBLISH ONCE, USE OFTEN ………………………………………………………………………….4
CURRENT REPORTING SYSTEMS…………………………………………………………………………………………………………4
CHAPTER THREE: DONORS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………9
THE CURRENT SITUATION…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..9
THE PROPOSED IATI MECHANISM ………………………………………………………………………………………………………9
CLASSIFICATIONS……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………10
LOCATION OF DATA & THE REGISTRY ………………………………………………………………………………………………..11
HOW DONORS MIGHT CHOOSE TO COLLECT AND PUBLISH INFORMATION……………………………………………….11
QUALITY AND ACCURACY …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………12
COSTS AND SAVINGS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………12
IATI & THE DAC …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….15
CHAPTER FOUR: DEVELOPING COUNTRIES…………………………………………………………………………..16
CHAPTER FIVE: CITIZENS AND PARLIAMENTS ………………………………………………………………………18
CHAPTER SIX: INFORMATION INTERMEDIARIES ……………………………………………………………………20
CHAPTER SEVEN: CONCLUSIONS…………………………………………………………………………………………..21
A VISION OF AID TRANSPARENCY………………………………………………………………………………………………………21
APPENDIX ONE: OTHER OPTIONS…………………………………………………………………………………………..23
A: IMPROVED REPORTING TO AIMS………………………………………………………………………………………………….23
B: IMPROVED REPORTING TO THE DAC CRS…………………………………………………………………………………….23www.aidinfo.org
www.aidinfo.org     www.aidtransparency.net                    IMPLEMENTING IATI
C: IMPROVED PUBLICATION OF DATA ON DONOR WEBSITES …………………………………………………………………24
D: CREATE A SINGLE LARGE NEW DATABASE……………………………………………………………………………………..24
SUMMARY OF OPTIONS ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………25www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   1
AAA Accra Agenda for Action – an
agreement on aid effectiveness
reached in September 2008
AIMS Aid Information Management
System (a generic term
covering AMP, DAD, ODAMoz
and other developing country
systems)
AMP Aid Management Platform (an
aid management system
supplied by the Development
Gateway)
CRS Creditor Reporting System
(one of two databases
managed by the DAC, which
measure aid outflows)
COFOG Classification of the Functions
of Government – a standard
classification of government
spending
DAC Development Assistance
Committee (part of the
Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development,
OECD)
DAD Donor Assistance Database
(an aid management system
supplied by Synergy)
IATI International Aid Transparency
Initiative
IDML International Development
Mark-up Language – a form of
Extensible Markup Language
(XML) that can be used to
describe development data
FTS Financial Tracking Service – a
global real time database
recording humanitarian aid
managed by the UN Office for
Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA)
OCHA UN Office for Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs
ODA Official Development
Assistance – a definition of aid
agreed by donors in the DAC
USIF Unified Standard Input Format
an electronic format for data
submission mandated by the
DAC for submission of data
XML Extensible Markup Language –
a set of rules for encoding
documents electronically,
widely used on the internet
Abbreviationswww.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   2
This paper outlines proposals for meeting
the objectives of the International Aid
Transparency Initiative (IATI) without
disproportionate cost, and explains what
value IATI would add to existing systems
for reporting aid.  Detailed work on
implementation issues is scheduled
through the IATI Technical Advisory Group
(TAG) during 2010. Membership of the
TAG is open, and so far, over 100
individuals have contributed to its work,
including representatives of each
stakeholder group.
There are many people and organisations
with diverse, legitimate and important
needs for information about aid.  
Developing country governments need
information about how aid is being spent
in their country.  Parliamentarians in
developing countries and in donor
countries want to hold their government to
account. Communities in developing
countries need to know what resources
are available for their development 


priorities and in what way they can
influence how those resources are used. A
village council wants to know what aid is
available  to improve water in its area.  
Researchers need better data to
understand how aid can be more effective.  
Taxpayers want to know how their money
is being spent.
No single database can satisfactorily
meet the needs of all these potential
users.  
These users all want information tailored
to their own needs.  Often they want
information from many different donors,
combined with information from other
sources, such as the government’s
spending, or disease surveillance data.
Yet it is unrealistic to expect donors to
provide information separately to
hundreds of possible information systems.
This then is the dilemma: users need
information presented in ways specific
to their needs, but donors cannot
provide information to each of them
individually.
There are broadly two ways to respond to
this challenge. A limited response is for
those donors who currently report to the
Development Assistance Committee
(DAC)  databases to step up
the information that they already provide,
and for all donors to improve reporting to
country government aid management
systems (AIMS).
This paper sets out a more
comprehensive response and shows how
IATI could improve reporting to existing
systems, and at the same time meet a
much wider range of needs for
information, including documents as well
as data.
Donors would extend their existing
processes for collecting information about
aid, which they currently use to report to
the DAC and other systems. They would
include additional information needed by
other stakeholders, much of which is
currently collected and provided
separately.  As now, donors would choose
their own systems to manage this data
collection. They would put this combined
information into the public domain more
rapidly and in a common format.  They
                                                     Executive Summarywww.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   3
would register the location of the data in a
registry”  – a kind of online catalogue
which enables users to find it.
This approach can be summarised as
publish once, use often”.  
The combination of common, open
formats plus the registry would add huge
value to the information already being
published by donors, and the additional
information they would publish as a result
of IATI, because users would be able to
access information of particular interest to
them, in a format that is useful to them,
without having to trawl round all the donor
websites individually.  This would open up
the information to a wider range of users
and democratise access to information
through services such as mobile phones
or Google.
The information collected and published
under IATI would provide the information
needed for donor reporting to existing
systems, such as DAC and country AIMS
and national budgets. This would reduce
duplicate information collection and
reporting.
To meet their commitments under the
Accra Agenda for Action (AAA), and in the
context of growing calls for government
transparency, donors are increasingly
publishing more information about aid.
Clearly this will involve some costs to
donors. These IATI proposals are
designed to minimise the additional
burden of this greater transparency, and
yet obtain the maximum benefits from their
efforts by ensuring that the information,
once collected, is universally accessible.www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   4
Ten desirable characteristics of IATI
Based on extensive stakeholder consultation summarised in Chapter One, aindinfo concludes that the
system to implement the IATI declaration signed in Accra in 2008 should:
1. meet in full the information needs of developing country government  AIMS and budgets without
imposing a burden on developing countries, including complying with local definitions and
classifications;
2. build on the work that has been done through the DAC to develop common definitions and reporting
processes, and avoid the establishment of duplicate or parallel reporting processes;
3. produce information which is easily accessible to parliamentarians, civil society, the media and
citizens as well as to governments (in line with the expanded definition of country ownership agreed
at Accra);
4. provide accurate, high quality and meaningful information, and enable users to distinguish official
statistics, which have been professionally scrutinised, from management information about projects
and programmes;
5. include information about spending by non-DAC donors, multilateral organisations, foundations and
NGOs;
6. be easy to understand, reconcile, compare, add up, read alongside other sources of information,
and be easy to organise and present in ways that are useful to information users;
7. be legally open, with as few barriers to access and reuse as possible;
8. reduce duplicate reporting by donor agencies and minimise additional costs;
9. be electronically accessible in an open format so a wide range of third party intermediaries can
access the information and present it either as comprehensive information or niche analysis;
10. result in access to information about aid which is more timely, more detailed, more forward looking
and more comprehensive than existing data, and which includes wider information on aid, such as
key policy and appraisal documents and the outputs and outcomes it achieves.www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   5
The International Aid Transparency
Initiative (IATI) was launched at the Accra
High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in
September 2008. IATI is a multistakeholder initiative to accelerate access
to aid information to increase
effectiveness of aid in reducing poverty.
The Accra Agenda for Action (AAA)
recognised that increased transparency is
central to the objectives of the Paris
Declaration. Transparency is essential to
meet the five underlying principles of
ownership, alignment, harmonisation,
managing for results, and mutual
accountability. The AAA expanded the
concept of country ownership to include
parliamentarians, civil society
organisations (CSOs), academics, the
media and citizens. Donors agreed to
support efforts to increase the capacity of
all development actors to play an active
role in policy dialogue. The AAA
committed donors to  “disclose regular,
detailed and timely information about our
aid flows” and to  “support information
systems for managing aid”.
IATI provides a way for donors to meet
this commitment in a coherent and
consistent way. IATI has 18 signatories, of
whom 13 are DAC members. These
signatories resolved to “give strong
political direction” and “invest the
necessary resources in accelerating the
availability of aid information”.
IATI also contributes to Cluster C on
Transparent and Responsible Aid, which
sits under the Working Party on Aid
Effectiveness (WP-EFF.) IATI has been
tasked by the Cluster with developing
reporting formats and definitions for
sharing information about aid, drawing on
the expertise of the Working Party on
Statistics (WP-STAT.) Proposals
developed by IATI will be available to
inform the Cluster’s work.
IATI aims to agree a four-part standard
consisting of:
(1) an agreement on what would be
published
(2) common definitions for sharing
information
(3) a common electronic data format  
(4) a code of conduct.
The details of what would be covered by
IATI and how this would be published will
be decided by the IATI members, following
detailed research by the Technical
Advisory Group (TAG) and consultation
with stakeholders. It is intended that the
standard will be adopted at first by IATI
members but it may over time be adopted
by other DAC donors, and by other nonDAC donors, other foundations and  nongovernmental organisations (NGOs).
There is widespread support among
developing country governments for
extending the coverage of aid information
to non-traditional donors.
IATI responds to growing demands from
civil society and citizens for greater
transparency of information about
spending and results, and for access to
key documents as well as data. The
ambitions of IATI are consistent with many
other recent initiatives to increase
transparency, for example President
Obama’s August 2009 memo on
transparency, the World Bank’s new
disclosure policy, which represents a
Backgroundwww.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   6
paradigm shift to proactive disclosure with
limited exceptions, and the development
of online information portals for citizens,
such as in Brazil.  IATI seeks to harness
the power of new technology to deliver
real improvements in the lives of the
world’s poorest people, in the  same way
that email, internet access and mobile
phone networks have revolutionised the
way that aid agencies themselves do their
business.
Since its launch in September 2008, IATI
has focused on consultation with
developing countries and CSOs, factfinding missions to a number of donor
countries, and detailed work by the TAG
on parts 1 and 4 of the proposed IATI
standard, covering an agreement on what
would be published and a code of
conduct.
The IATI Conference, held in The Hague
in October 2009, confirmed widespread
support for the objectives of IATI, and
consensus on the key information needs
of different stakeholders. At the same
time, it was clear during the IATI
conference that a number of stakeholders
would welcome greater clarity on how IATI
might  work in practice, so that they can
consider the full implications of the
initiative for their agencies.
Although detailed work on the precise
practical and technical mechanisms for
implementing IATI is only just beginning,
this paper presents a proposal on how
IATI would work, what this framework
would mean for different stakeholders, and
what added-value it is envisaged that IATI
would offer as a result.
Notes
1. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_
office/TransparencyandOpenGovernm
ent/www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   2
This chapter sets out the principles which
guide the rest of the paper.  It summarises
relevant lessons learned from the
consultations with donors,  partner
countries and civil society, and from
aidinfo’s extensive, in-depth research.   It
sets out the requirements that IATI must
meet  if it is to meet the interests of its
stakeholders.
The consultations with developing
countries and donors have yielded clear
messages, summarised in the ten
characteristics of IATI  outlined in the
Executive Summary.
Developing countries believe that donors
at the country level do not give sufficient
priority to providing aid information to
national authorities, and this undermines
their efforts to put in place AIMS, and to
have reliable, up-to-date information
available for decision-making, especially in
relation to budgets. In 2007, only 48% of
aid was recorded on budget.
Developing countries’ top priority is for
timely, up-to-date and reliable
information on current and future aid
flows.  They do not want “one size fits all”
information but information that they can
use for their own systems and processes.
They also want  more detailed
information on where, when, by whom,
how, on what, and in which sectors aid
is spent. They stress the need for better
information to allow them to  monitor
results and the impact of aid, and they
want better coverage of aid flows,
including information from  global funds
and NGOs.
Information on conditions and terms was
regarded as essential; and for some,
information to assist in monitoring of Paris
Declaration targets was regarded as
useful.  While contract and procurement
details were regarded as less important for
developing countries than other areas of
the proposed standard,  non-statistical
information, including relevant
strategy, policy and evaluation
documents, were regarded as essential.
The areas highlighted by the CSO
consultation exercise were conditionality,
aid commitments and actual
disbursements, project impact and
complete project documentation.
The conclusions from the four donor fact -
finding missions to date was that these
donors are well-placed to comply with IATI
as most of the information required is
already captured in centralised
systems, and  timely publication of
basic project information and financial
flows is achievable. Donors already have
in place systems to collect information and
report it to the DAC, and a huge amount of
work has gone into defining common
definitions. Bilateral donors are clear that
IATI should build on, and not duplicate or
undermine, these efforts.
It is also clear that donors already publish
a lot of information about the aid that they
give, but in ways that do not make it easily
accessible from the perspective of users.  
Some donors attach importance to
improving the transparency of outputs and
results, as well as spending.
Forward-looking budget data presents
the greatest challenge for donors, with
most donors still deciding how to meet the
Accra commitment in this area. While
Freedom of Information legislation and
Chapter One: Stakeholder Needswww.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   3
commitment to transparency have created
conducive policy environments,  a move
from reactive to proactive disclosure
would require decisions on
exemptions, such as for commercially
confidential information.
It is clear from preliminary discussions that
some of the challenges in implementing
IATI will be different for multilateral
agencies and foundations. More work is
required to understand  fully  these
challenges, and to support non-bilateral
donors through the process of
implementation.
However it is implemented, greater
transparency will require some donors to
change their procedures to be more
systematic about gathering information in
a form that is fit for publication. While
there will inevitably be some costs to this,
there are also potentially large savings for
donors, particularly at country level, from
more systematic and pro-active collection
of data and a reduction in duplicate
reporting. These costs and benefits are
discussed in more detail in Chapter 3.
The stakeholder consultations have
provided remarkably consistent
conclusions, summarised in the ten
principles listed in the Executive
Summary.www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   4
This chapter reviews the current systems
for reporting aid information and
summarises a  way that IATI could be
implemented.  Thirteen of the 18 IATI
signatories are DAC bilateral donors and
for them, ensuring that IATI supports,
rather than undermines, existing reporting
mechanisms is crucial. The situation is
different for multilateral agencies and
foundations, and further discussions are
required to understand fully the challenges
they will face in implementing IATI.
Subsequent chapters look in more detail
at what these IATI proposals would mean
for specific stakeholders.
Current reporting systems
At present, donor agencies are typically
involved in several different kinds of
reporting on aid projects and programmes
[see figure 1].  Most agencies have an
internal information system, such as a
management information system (MIS).
This information is used for a variety of
purposes, such as planning, monitoring
and managing aid allocations and
producing annual reports or reports to
Parliament.
The current gold standard for aid
information is the aid databases managed
by the DAC. All DAC donors are required
to report data to the DAC each year  –
some do this using information taken
directly from their MIS, while others
maintain a separate database for DAC
reporting.  This reporting, which occupies
considerable effort on the part of donors,
is the most authoritative and
comprehensive source of aid information.
To serve information needs at country
level, donors also provide detailed
information to more than fifty AIMS that
have been adopted by partner country
governments.  These databases serve a
different purpose from the DAC; and they
represent a huge advance because before
they were developed, there was no
effective mechanism for the management
of aid information in developing countries.
While the AIMS are a great step forward,
they too cannot meet every need for
information.  They are designed to help
finance and planning ministries with
overall fiscal management, but they
typically do not contain sufficient detail
and richness of information to fulfill the
needs of line ministries (and they would be
unwieldy to maintain and use if they
attempted to do so).  And there are many
other stakeholders  – such as
parliamentarians, CSOs, academics,
journalists and citizens  – who need
additional information.
The result is that in addition to reporting to
the DAC and to the country AIMS, donors
also face a growing range of overlapping
requests for related information.
One of the concerns expressed about
IATI is that it would create a parallel
reporting system. In reality, this is a
description of the current situation,
which IATI aims to help solve.  IATI
aims instead to reduce duplication by
allowing donors to publish information
once in a form that meets a wider
variety of needs.
In many ways, the  status quo represents
the worst of all possible worlds: donors are
already burdened by a multitude of parallel
requests for information at both country
and  headquarter  level, but despite their
best efforts, the information they make
Chapter Two: Publish Once, Use Oftenwww.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   5
available does not fully meet the needs of
different users.
Furthermore, the level of demand for aid
information is likely to increase. The
welcome spread of AIMS, increasing
expectations of open access to data, and
the growing use of Freedom of Information
legislation are all putting pressures on
donors to publish more information for a
wider range of uses.
The existing systems are extremely
important and donors and developing
countries have put a lot of effort into
developing and maintaining them.  It is
desirable in its own right to further develop
those systems and to improve reporting.  
But these systems, however well
designed, cannot meet the legitimate
needs of all stakeholders, nor meet all of
the essential requirements set out in the
previous chapter.  
The IATI mechanism would to help
improve reporting to those systems, and
more, in a cost effective way. Given the
huge changes in technology and the
consensus about the importance of
transparency for greater aid effectiveness,
a more practical and sustainable response
to this challenge is for donors routinely to
publish more detailed and comprehensive
information about aid. Donors can build on
their existing mechanisms to collect
information to report to the DAC, and use
them to collect additional information to
provide to country AIMS and to meet other
needs for aid information. As  well as
providing the information to these
systems, they would put it into the public
domain quickly and in a common format.  
Figure 1: The situation today: publish many, use rarelywww.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   6
This information, once gathered and
published, can be used by donors as the
basis of fulfilling their various reporting
obligations,  and it can meet a wide array
of new uses for the information, while
reducing rather than adding to the burden
on donors [see Figure 2].  
This approach can be characterised as
publish once, use often”.
Under the arrangements proposed here,
each donor  would extend their existing
data collection systems to bring together
more detailed information about their aid
programmes and activities.  (IATI
members have begun to discuss, but have
not yet agreed upon, the scope of this
additional information).  They  would
routinely publish this information online in
a common electronic data format (which
IATI members would need to discuss and
agree). They would then register where
their aid data are located (i.e. an internet
address)  in an online IATI registry. The
information published by donors would
contain the basis for reporting about
projects and programmes both to the DAC
and to developing country AIMS; and it
could also be used by a wide variety of
intermediary organisations to provide
bespoke and niche services to other
users.
How will this work?
Donors would be responsible for
gathering detailed information about each
project or programme, classifying them
according to both a global classification
(based on current definitions, most notably
the DAC) and local  classifications
(consistent with AIMS and budget
classifications). This would normally be
done by staff in country offices, as now.
They would tag the projects using DAC
classifications; and they would tag it with
other classifications. Donors would
assemble this information using their own
internal systems, apply internal quality
control, and then export it into data files in
a common electronic format.  (Donors
already use a common format, called
USIF, for reporting to the DAC. The IATI
format, when it is agreed, would be
consistent with this, so it would be simple
to convert IATI data into USIF.)
Donor agencies use a variety of different
means to collect information to meet their
existing reporting obligations.  These
could be extended to include the broader
range of information needed for reporting
under IATI, about which agreement has
not yet been reached.  
Donors would publish their IATI data
online, either on their own websites or, if
they prefer, on third party sites, and they
would register the location of the data with
the IATI registry.  (The registry is a kind of
online catalogue that points users to the
information they need.)   Having
assembled and published the data in the
IATI format, donors would have already
done the bulk of the work  required  to
assemble the information needed report
their aid in the relevant formats and time
periods to the DAC and to developing
country AIMS.
Developing country governments could,
if they wish, continue to receive data from
donors as they do now. Over time,  as
automatic data transfer of aid information
is further developed and piloted, they may
want to take advantage of IATI to adapt
their AIMS to collect the information
automatically from the published IATI
data, which would involve a
straightforward modification to their
software. Provided that this proves to be
successful, this would further enhance the
value of the AIMS, improving the quality,
timeliness and coverage of information
while reducing the burden of data
collection.
Line ministries needing more detailed
information than is collected in the AIMS
would be able to access the samewww.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   7
published IATI data to access additional
detail about the projects and programmes.
This would enable line ministries to have
more detailed information than they can
get from the AIMS but still be sure that it is
consistent with the information being used
by their finance ministry.
Parliamentarians, CSOs, citizens and
the media  would be able to access the
information directly from donor websites if
they wish.  (Because many of the AIMS
are not publicly accessible, reporting to
the AIMS itself does not meet their
information needs). These key
stakeholders would see the same
information as is being provided to
developing country governments.
Increasingly, however, these users would
look to third party  information
intermediaries.  The intermediaries would
be able to use the IATI data to provide
more tailored information, and present it in
a more accessible way (for example, in
local languages) and through a variety of
mediums (for example, through mobile
phones, radio or posters as well as
websites).  
Figure 2: IATI proposal: Publish once, use oftenwww.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   8
By routinely publishing information in a
common format, IATI would open the way
to new technologies, such as mobile
phones and Google maps, to provide
detailed information to users in developing
countries.   As a result, a much wider
range of country stakeholders would have
access to the same information about aid
that donors currently supply privately to
governments.  
Notes
1. In this report, “project” is used to
describe a unit of reporting. In practice,
this term may cover many activities that
are not projects in the conventional sense.
2.  AidData, a collaboration between
the Development Gateway, William &
Mary College and Brigham Young
University, intends to provide this service.www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   9
This chapter considers the implications for
donors of the proposed arrangements,
and describes in more detail the options
for them.
The current situation
At present, in most donor agencies,
country-based staff are responsible for
recording information about the aid
projects that they administer; while
headquarters staff record information
about spending administered centrally.
Information required for donor reporting
(for example,. to parliaments and the
DAC) is provided to donor headquarters,
usually by way of an MIS or other internal
reporting system.  The DAC reporter
supplies this information in a common
electronic format to the DAC.
Country office staff provide information to
AIMS, usually via a spreadsheet or email,
and respond to additional requests for
information from line ministries and other
stakeholders.
This means that where global reporting
standards (for example,. DAC
classifications) differ from local
classifications (for example,. in AIMS)
donors that supply information to both are
already having to classify each project in
two different ways.
The proposed IATI mechanism
Under the IATI mechanism proposed here,
donors would routinely assemble more
information about each project as the
project is being designed and
implemented. (The exact coverage of this
information has yet to be agreed by the
IATI members). This information would
undergo internal quality control and then
be routinely and automatically published.
The box below  (see page 11)  describes
several different ways donors might
choose to do that, building on the variety
of systems that donors presently have in
place to meet their reporting requirements.
The information gathered about projects
and programmes would be designed to
meet in full the needs of the local aid
management system, the local finance
ministry and line ministries  and  central
reporting needs.  
For example, the information gathered
about an education project to build
schools in Ethiopia might include:
a. information about the size of
commitments, terms, and dates of
disbursement, long descriptions, and
implementing agents; this information
would be used by everyone using the
data;
b. the DAC Creditor Reporting System
(CRS) sector codes for the project;
c. the sector  codes used by PASDEP
(Ethiopia’s  Plan for Accelerated and
Sustained Development to End
Poverty) which are needed for reporting
to the Ethiopia Aid Management
Platform);  
d. The woredas (i.e. local government
areas) in which the schools will be built
(this information is reported to both the
Education Ministry and the Finance
Ministry);
e. The number and sizes of classrooms to
be built (information needed by the
Chapter Three: Donorswww.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   1 0
Figure 3: Multiple overlapping classification
Education Ministry but not by the
Finance Ministry, and which is not
included in the AMP).
Under IATI, this information would be
assembled by the donor staff in the
country office, and recorded in the donor’s
internal information system (usually, a MIS
system).  
Taken together, this information would
provide the basis for reporting to the DAC
CRS, to the local AIMS, and it would
provide more specific information to the
line ministry. It is mostly information that
donors already have internally, usually
within an existing information system, and
which they already make available to the
government, though not usually to the
public unless they are specifically asked.
Individual donors would retain flexibility
about how they collect information and
store it; they would be responsible for
converting their aid information into the
data format that IATI members  agree
upon.
Classifications
Donor staff (usually those responsible for
managing a project or programme) would
classify projects according to both
universal and local classifications.
Most,perhaps 80 percent, of the data
collected about each project would  be
universal  – for example, the dates and
amounts of transactions and the financial
terms.  
The data would be classified according to
the classifications agreed in the DAC on
classifications for the CRS database.  In
addition, they would be classified
according to other universal
classifications, to be agreed by IATI
members, which would be based on
existing taxonomies, such as COFOG or
FTS.
In addition to the universal classifications,
each project would  also  be tagged with
any specific classifications and information
needed for local systems (for example,
AIMS and national budget classifications).
This information would also include
information about outputs and results.  
This means that every project would be
routinely coded according to both
universal and local definitions.    This
may appear to be additional work because
it means double coding some information
for each project. But donors already have
to double code every project so that they
can report it both to the DAC and to the
local AIMS.  The main difference from now
would be that projects would be routinely
classified as they are developed and
agreed, and this information would be
published more rapidly as unified,
consistent and universally accessible data,
rather than supplied separately when
requested.  Moreover, where projects are
funded by multiple donors, it would
increase consistency of coding if the
correct classification is agreed when
finalising the arrangements. www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   1 1
How donors might choose to collect and publish information
Donors would need to gather information on each project or programme. They would
continue to use their own systems for doing this, then convert and publish this data in an
agreed common, electronic format. DAC donors already have systems in place to do
this to enable them to report to the DAC.  In most cases, they would simply extend those
existing systems to collect a bigger range of information, classified in more detail, to
meet the needs of IATI.
a. Some donors may want to adapt their Management Information Systems to
collect the information as part of the project management cycle, and then to
produce the IATI data automatically from the MIS.  For most donors, this would
be simple and cheap. Some donors may adapt their MIS to do this next time they
are updating or upgrading it.
b. Other donors may want to use an existing or new internal project database, for
example a web-based intranet. (This could be provided as a secure web service
by third-party organisations.)  Staff would enter the information onto a web form,
and the database would produce the IATI information in the required format.  
c. Other donors presently use spreadsheets or manual data collection.  These
donors could continue with this approach, extending it to include the information
their staff are already supplying at country level to local aid management
systems.    
Once the complete data are collected in a collection of spreadsheets, a database or in
an MIS system, it is technically straightforward to export the data into whatever
electronic format IATI members eventually agree on.
Location of data & the registry
Donors would be able to choose whether
to publish their IATI data in a single data
file or in several, and they would publish
these online. Some donor countries may
wish to have a single repository for all their
aid, others may want to publish data in
different locations for different aid
agencies.  Smaller donors might want to
have their data hosted by a third party
organisation.
This flexibility is possible because users
would always be able to locate the data by
way of the “registry”, a kind of online
catalogue that signposts the location of all
the data.
Each time a donor adds new data or
updates existing data they would send an
automatic electronic notification to a
central “registry”. The registry would keep
track of which IATI data sets are available,
what they cover, and where they are
located.  (The registry is not an aid
database, and does not keep a copy of the
data). The registry is a signposting system
used either by a person  – using, for
example, a web browser  – or by a
computer programme, such as a database
or an accounting system.
A database (most notably a country AIMS
system) would be able to interrogate the
registry automatically to find out where all
the data relevant to that database can be
found. This means that each database can www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   1 2
update itself automatically, either at
regular intervals or whenever a donor
notifies the registry that it has published
new data.
Quality and accuracy
As donors move to become more
transparent, it is important that the
information they publish is of sufficient
quality.   There is a direct trade-off with
timeliness – information is more useful if is
available in good time, especially for aid
management purposes, but this reduces
the time available for central scrutiny and
checking.
Any moves to greater transparency have
to balance the need for high quality data
with the need to make more information
accessible in a timely manner.
The specific features of this IATI proposal
for minimising the risks and maintaining
quality are:
mistakes often arise from problems
reconciling and aggregating information
from many different sources.  IATI
would, under these proposals, make it
much easier to reconcile information;
projects and programmes would be
usually classified and coded at the time
by the staff with the most direct
experience of those projects;
organisations often take more care
over accuracy of information that is
going to be published;
the adoption of common definitions
would reduce the risk of
misunderstandings both for users and
for those assembling the information.
It is the responsibility of the users
themselves to decide whether and how
much to use timely but less scrutinised
data, depending on their particular
purpose.  The proposed IATI system will
enable users to see clearly which
information has benefited from DAC’s
additional quality control.
Common classifications require more than
a rule book: they require a shared
understanding among the people
recording the information and the people
using it.  It will be important that donors
invest in training staff and communication
to understand what the classifications and
definitions mean, and the importance of
doing this well.  This is particularly true for
multilateral agencies, non-DAC donors,
NGOS and foundations who do not
routinely use all (or in some cases any) of
the existing DAC classifications. Rather
like financial management, understanding
the meanings of the terms used to classify
aid information and recognising the
importance of accurate reporting will
increasingly need to be core competences
within donor agencies.  
To avoid misunderstanding of the data,
and the additional work that this imposes
on donor staff, it will also be important for
donors to support capacity building for
organisations and individuals that use IATI
information so that they interpret it
accurately and understand its limitations.  
IATI data will include meta data which
describes the source of the data and what
it means, and there will be public
documentation describing the
classifications and their meaning and
limitations.
Costs and savings
Donors will have to do some things
differently as a result of greater
transparency irrespective of the system
used to implement it, and there will
inevitably be costs attached to doing so.
The information some donors collect and
use internally and provide to partner
governments is  not intended to be made
public.  Any system which makes this
information available to the public will www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   1 3
mean those donors will have to tighten
their processes to make this information
suitable for publication. This is an
unavoidable result of publishing this
additional information, and does not
depend on the choice of mechanism for
IATI.
IATI will involve some additional, upfront
costs for donors, but at the same time, it
can help donors to avoid unnecessary
administrative costs of collecting
information and  multiple reporting.  This
will not only minimise the costs of greater
transparency in the future, it will potentially  
reduce the existing costs of reporting aid
information. The possible savings for
donors are quite large.  Based on a small
survey of donor country offices²  aidinfo
estimates that donors currently employ the
equivalent of 350 full time staff at country
level to provide detailed information about
aid to their headquarters for reporting to
the DAC, to country AIMS and to answer
other information requests about aid. We
estimate that routine publication of
detailed aid information in an accessible
form would substantially reduce this work,
saving approximately $7 million a year for
IATI signatories (as a whole) by reducing,
though not entirely eliminating, the work
involved in duplicate manual reporting of
aid information.
Under the IATI proposals, donors would
adapt their information systems to collect
more detailed information needed about
each project and programme and to
publish it. The challenges in doing so will
be different for different donors, and over
the coming months, the TAG will be
undertaking further donor fact-finding
missions to gain a better understanding of
the specific obstacles faced by individual
donors, and the support they will need in
implementing IATI.  
The cost of adapting systems will depend
on (a) what kind of IT system the donor is
using; (b) the extent to which they are
already collecting the information required;
and (c) the details of what the IATI
members decide to include within the IATI
standard.  IATI members have not
reached agreement on important features
of the IATI system, such as the
information that would be collected and
published and the electronic format they
would use, and these decisions will also
have a bearing on the costs.  
The TAG has conducted four visits to
donors (UK, Netherlands, Germany and
World Bank) to understand in more detail
what the cost would be of adapting
systems to collect information and publish
it in a common format.  
Based on those visits, and following
further discussions with technical staff in
donor agencies, an independent IT and
financial management consultant grouped
all the IATI donors into five categories,
according to the extent of systems
changes they would need to implement
IATI. The likely costs of the changes that
would be needed was estimated
separately for each group, using
information provided confidentially by
donors about the costs of systems
changes in the recent past.     
In the case of agencies that already have
a MIS system which collects the required
information, the cost of publishing the
information in whatever IATI format is
eventually agreed may be as little as
$100K.  In other cases, more work would
be needed to adapt systems to collect
additional data and publish it. But it
appears that even in these cases the
overall cost per agency is still likely to be
in the order of $500K. We would stress
that these estimates are provisional, but
even if the costs of implementing IATI
prove to be significantly higher  – even
double  aidinfo’s  current estimates  – they
would still be small compared with the
significant benefits delivered to both donor
agencies and partner countries. www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   1 4
As the IATI process moves towards more
specific conclusions about the scope of
what would be published, and the
mechanism for doing so, and before final
agreements are reached, donors will want
to look in more detail at the cost
implications of the emerging proposals to
validate these estimates.   
These preliminary estimates of
implementation costs, and savings by
reducing duplicate reporting, imply that the
efficiency savings resulting from the IATI
proposals would cover the costs of
implementing IATI in one or two years.  
The evidence also suggests that including
additional categories of information in IATI
would not substantially increase the
implementation costs, but would
significantly increase the savings by
making it more likely that duplicate
reporting would be eliminated.  Broader
coverage of IATI could therefore be more
cost-effective than narrower coverage.
Increased transparency also opens the
way to significant improvements in the
effectiveness of aid by reducing diversion
and capture, reducing unpredictability,
improving accountability and service
delivery, improving coordination,
facilitating research, improving aid
allocation and increasing public support
for development. The size of these
benefits is uncertain. Based on a thorough
analysis of existing literature,  aidinfo
estimates that reduced diversion of funds
and increased predictability alone could
result in very large improvements in aid
effectiveness, perhaps equivalent to an
increase in aid of $1 or $2 billion a year.
These benefits are obviously much larger
than any likely cost of implementation.
Notes
1. For example,  the agreed common
data format might be an extension of
Unified Standard Input Format (USIF)
currently used by donors for reporting the
DAC; or it might be an XML schema, like
International Development Markup
Language (IDML), the common format
used by AIDA.  
2.  World Bank,  the  United  Kingdom,
Germany and the Netherlands.www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   1 5
IATI & the DAC
The most comprehensive and authoritative source of aid information is provided by donors to the
Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD.  Donors have mandated the DAC to define
ODA, and to collect, validate and aggregate data from DAC donors to produce information for
comparative purposes including tracking progress in meeting agreed quantitative and qualitative
targets on aid.
The information published by the DAC is the result of considerable efforts to define common
standards for aid reporting, to build a system for data exchange, and the result of efforts of DAC
reporters, members of WP-STAT and DAC staff to ensure that data are comprehensive and
accurately reported.
Access to aid information through the DAC has improved as a result of the introduction of a more
user-friendly interface to the database, and the introduction of an improved reporting system called
CRS++.
IATI aims to support and extend this work.  It is clear from the stakeholder consultations that it must
not become a parallel reporting initiative. IATI would mean that donors place in the public domain the
information that they provide to the DAC in a more timely manner, supplemented by extra information
which is not published by the DAC (much of which donors are currently providing elsewhere).  This
approach supports reporting to the DAC without duplicating it, and adds value in a number of ways:
More information would be gathered and placed in the public domain than is currently reported 


to the DAC. The information would go beyond official aid statistics to include both qualitative
and quantitative information needed for planning, coordination and accountability at country
level.
The information would be available more quickly than it is through the DAC, having been
through internal quality control within donor agencies but without the benefit of prior scrutiny by
DAC staff.
The information that is presently reported by donors to the DAC and to other systems would be
publicly available in a consistent and coherent form, so reducing the burden on users to
reconcile information from multiple data sources.
IATI has the scope to cover a wider range of donors than the DAC, including, over time, nonDAC official donors, foundations and NGOs. (It should be noted that some of these are
beginning to report to the DAC).
The IATI data would be more easily accessible to third parties, enabling a wide range of
information intermediaries to use the data to provide services tailored to users’ needs.
Because the data published by donors under IATI includes the project and programme information
that they would report to the DAC, this would not require an additional parallel process within donor
agencies.  Donors would be able to use this information to compile their subsequent reports to the
DAC.
This process would add value to the DAC reporting itself.  There would be more political and
managerial focus within donor agencies on the need to collect and publish information about aid
programmes, which would increase the resources for, and the quality and timeliness of, reporting by
donor staff.  Over time, more development agencies would have better systems for collecting and
publishing information about their activities using common definitions and data formats, simplifying
DAC reporters’ task of collating information for submission to the DAC.  Because data would routinely
be published, there would be stronger pressure within donor agencies to gather and record accurate
information.
DAC statistics, assembled with more elaborate systems of quality control to check for consistency and
accuracy of classifications, would continue to be the authoritative retrospective source of development
statistics.  But these statistics do not meet, nor should they try to fulfil, the wide range of legitimate
needs for faster, broader, more detailed information for the purposes of aid management, planning
and accountability.www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   1 6
Developing countries would not have to
make any changes to their systems in the
light of the introduction of  the  proposed
system; in practice, however, they may
want to take advantage of IATI to
automate the collection of information for
their country AIMS  and for other
information needs, as soon as this has
been fully developed and tested.  Cost
and capacity issues resulting from this will
need to be further discussed and
addressed by members as IATI moves
towards implementation.
Developing country partners would benefit
directly from the publication by donors of
data that are more complete, more
comprehensive, more timely and more
accurate than the information they receive
from donors today.  IATI would strengthen
and support reporting to AIMS and to
other developing country systems.
IATI would improve information in
developing countries because:
donors would make a stronger and
more accountable commitment to
provide comprehensive data and
information;
donors would put in place more
systematic mechanisms to collect,
structure and publish information
needed by developing country
governments;
data provided by donors would also be
publicly available at the same time,
resulting in stronger internal pressures
to improve quality of the data;
because the information would be
public, civil society would be able to
hold donors to account so increasing
donors’ incentives to report
comprehensively and accurately;
publication of a common dataset to
serve as the basis of all reporting by
donors would reduce inconsistencies,
double counting and missing data, and
make it possible to reconcile data from
a variety of sources.
The IATI information datasets would
contain all the information, suitably
classified, needed for local AIMS.  
Developing countries would not have
to change their AIMS or budget
classifications at all.  
Once the donors have published
information in the IATI format, it should be
straightforward to automate the exchange
of data into the country AIMS, if partner
countries wish to do so. Alternatively, they
could continue to receive data as they do
now. One of the main suppliers of country
AIMS estimates that, once the system for
doing so has been fully developed and
tested, the cost of adapting an AIMS
system to collect information automatically
from IATI data will be relatively low. (Once
information is in a single format and
suitably structured, it is cheap and easy to
transfer it into a database).   
The automatic exchange of information
between donors and developing country
governments will be tested through IATI
pilots in 2010.
Line ministries in developing countries
need more detailed information about
Chapter Four: Developing Countrieswww.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   1 7
donor activities in their sector than they
can get from the AIMS.  Donors who have
supplied information to the AIMS are
understandably reluctant to engage in a
separate exercise to report this additional
information.
Under the IATI proposals, donors would
publish detailed information, from which
the finance or planning ministry would be
able to draw the high level data needed for
the AIMS system, which is at the heart of
their fiscal planning and management.  
Line ministries would be able to access
the more detailed information  that they
need for the purposes of sector planning
and monitoring. In this way the information
used by line ministries would be narrower
but more detailed than the information
held in the AIMS. This means that the
information used by the line ministry would
be consistent and reconcilable with the
information used by the finance ministry.
At the same time, the donors would have
fewer reporting obligations.  This is an
example of how “publish once, use often”
is an advantage for both donors and
developing country partners.
To the extent that more extensive, timely
and detailed information about aid would
be publicly available under IATI than now,
this would increase accountability
pressures on developing countries as well
as on donors.  This increased
accountability is in line with the principles
agreed at Accra of country, not just
government, ownership of the aid
relationship.   www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   1 8
The Accra Agenda for Action is clear that
country ownership means more than just
government ownership.  Parliaments, civil
society, the media and citizens also have
an important role to play in the
accountability of their own governments,
service providers, international NGOs and
donors. Access to information about aid is
pre-requisite for being able to play this role
effectively.
The information needs of citizens and
members of parliament are not likely to be
met directly by databases run by
governments, donors, or international
organisations.  Those organisations do not
have the capacity, incentives, or customer
focus needed to enable them to make
information easy to access and simple to
use.
These stakeholders are often primarily
interested in the overall resources flowing
to a particular sub-national administration
or available for a particular topic, and
rather less interested in the individual
activities of a single donor or even the
sum of all aid agencies taken together.  
They want aid information, but mainly to
enable them to combine it with information
from other sources and about other kinds
of resources. They also want access to
documents, as well as data.
Under the arrangements proposed here,
citizens and parliamentarians are not likely
to access directly the raw data and
Chapter Five: Citizens and Parliaments
Figure 4: Example of Aid Management Portalwww.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   1 9
documents provided by donors, though
they could if they wished. Instead they
would be more likely to access information
through third party intermediaries.  
These intermediaries, discussed in the
next chapter, might be public sector,
private sector or non-profit organisations.  
The  publication of data online in a
common format would enable such
organisations to access and use
information at very little set-up cost.  There
would be at least some services
attempting to aggregate all aid information
in one place in a user-friendly way,  but
many citizens are more likely to want to
use niche services, providing information
about a particular topic, because such a
service would be more tailored to their
interests and easy for them to use.
In many cases these intermediary services
would bring together information about aid
with other kinds of information (for
example, about poverty levels or disease
rates) to serve the particular interests of
their users [see Figure 4 for an example]. www.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   2 0
The publication of information online in a
common format would open up aid
information to a wide variety of information
intermediaries (“infomediaries”). These
proposals would make it possible for
infomediaries to access, combine and
reuse aid data published by donors.  
IATI would dramatically reduce the
barriers to entry for such  infomediaries.  
Once the information is online in a
common format, and can be found by way
of the registry, it is technically very easy to
develop a website or database that uses
the data in new and interesting ways.
Intermediaries would use the IATI registry
to get the location of the data they are
interested in (for example, all data about
Kenya, or all data about HIV or education).  
They would then be able to assemble the
data automatically into a combined
dataset.   They would also be able to
access meta-data which explains what the
data mean.
The information would be free, and there
would be an explicit licence giving
certainty to infomediaries that they are
legally allowed to republish it.
The agreement of internationally agreed
definitions and classifications would
reduce the risk of misunderstandings
about what the data actually mean. IATI
members should invest more in training
CSOs, parliamentarians and citizens to
use the existing sources of aid
information, and helping them to use the
information accurately and effectively. IATI
should also be accompanied by extensive
documentation, capacity building and
information to educate users about the
meaning and limitations of the data.
This approach would enable infomediaries
to juxtapose aid information against other
information such as government spending,
disease burdens or geography.  The
services may be in local languages, and
not all would be internet-based. Some, for
example, may provide information through
mobile phones, local radio stations or
posters for local communities.
It is likely that some donors would want to
provide funding and technical assistance
to organisations to help them to establish
and operate these services.
For some purposes, some infomediaries
would want to use only data that has the
status of official statistics (for example,
information that has had a seal of approval
from the OECD DAC).  
If the OECD DAC publishes data listing
the information they have verified, this
could be read alongside the IATI data
published by donors. In this way,
intermediaries would be able to distinguish
the data which has benefited from DAC
scrutiny, or indeed to restrict themselves
to this data if they wish.  
Unlocking  information and reducing
barriers to entry so that information can be
used by a wide range of intermediaries is
one of the  most powerful ways that
donors can make aid information more
accessible to people in developing
countries as well as to citizens of donor
nations. The success of IATI will be
greatly dependent on whether the
information is produced in a sufficiently
easy to access way to make it possible for
these organisations to develop new and
innovative services.
Chapter Six: Information Intermediarieswww.aidinfo.org              www.aidtransparency.net                                  P a g e  |   2 1
A vision of aid transparency
The proposed combination of
comprehensive information published in
common, open formats, located through a
registry, would add huge value to the
information being published by donors.  
Users would be able to access information

IMPLEMENTING IATI

Practical Proposals

By the aidinfo team at Development Initiatives

www.aidinfo.org

www.aidtransparency.net

Final Draft – January 2010www.aidinfo.org

www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net IMPLEMENTING IATI

IMPLEMENTING IATI

Practical Proposals

January 2010

Final Draft

A study produced for and funded by the International Aid Transparency Initiative

(IATI)

By

Development Initiatives

Keward Court, Jocelyn Drive

Wells, Somerset BA5 1DB

United Kingdomwww.aidinfo.org

www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net IMPLEMENTING IATI

CONTENTS

ABBREVIATIONS………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..1

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………2

TEN DESIRABLE CHARACTERISTICS OF IATI…………………………………………………………………………………………4

BACKGROUND …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..5

CHAPTER ONE: STAKEHOLDER NEEDS …………………………………………………………………………………..2

CHAPTER TWO: PUBLISH ONCE, USE OFTEN ………………………………………………………………………….4

CURRENT REPORTING SYSTEMS…………………………………………………………………………………………………………4

CHAPTER THREE: DONORS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………9

THE CURRENT SITUATION…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..9

THE PROPOSED IATI MECHANISM ………………………………………………………………………………………………………9

CLASSIFICATIONS……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………10

LOCATION OF DATA & THE REGISTRY ………………………………………………………………………………………………..11

HOW DONORS MIGHT CHOOSE TO COLLECT AND PUBLISH INFORMATION……………………………………………….11

QUALITY AND ACCURACY …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………12

COSTS AND SAVINGS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………12

IATI & THE DAC …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….15

CHAPTER FOUR: DEVELOPING COUNTRIES…………………………………………………………………………..16

CHAPTER FIVE: CITIZENS AND PARLIAMENTS ………………………………………………………………………18

CHAPTER SIX: INFORMATION INTERMEDIARIES ……………………………………………………………………20

CHAPTER SEVEN: CONCLUSIONS…………………………………………………………………………………………..21

A VISION OF AID TRANSPARENCY………………………………………………………………………………………………………21

APPENDIX ONE: OTHER OPTIONS…………………………………………………………………………………………..23

A: IMPROVED REPORTING TO AIMS………………………………………………………………………………………………….23

B: IMPROVED REPORTING TO THE DAC CRS…………………………………………………………………………………….23www.aidinfo.org

www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net IMPLEMENTING IATI

C: IMPROVED PUBLICATION OF DATA ON DONOR WEBSITES …………………………………………………………………24

D: CREATE A SINGLE LARGE NEW DATABASE……………………………………………………………………………………..24

SUMMARY OF OPTIONS ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………25www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 1

AAA Accra Agenda for Action – an

agreement on aid effectiveness

reached in September 2008

AIMS Aid Information Management

System (a generic term

covering AMP, DAD, ODAMoz

and other developing country

systems)

AMP Aid Management Platform (an

aid management system

supplied by the Development

Gateway)

CRS Creditor Reporting System

(one of two databases

managed by the DAC, which

measure aid outflows)

COFOG Classification of the Functions

of Government – a standard

classification of government

spending

DAC Development Assistance

Committee (part of the

Organization for Economic

Cooperation and Development,

OECD)

DAD Donor Assistance Database

(an aid management system

supplied by Synergy)

IATI International Aid Transparency

Initiative

IDML International Development

Mark-up Language – a form of

Extensible Markup Language

(XML) that can be used to

describe development data

FTS Financial Tracking Service – a

global real time database

recording humanitarian aid

managed by the UN Office for

Coordination of Humanitarian

Affairs (OCHA)

OCHA UN Office for Coordination of

Humanitarian Affairs

ODA Official Development

Assistance – a definition of aid

agreed by donors in the DAC

USIF Unified Standard Input Format

an electronic format for data

submission mandated by the

DAC for submission of data

XML Extensible Markup Language –

a set of rules for encoding

documents electronically,

widely used on the internet

Abbreviationswww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 2

This paper outlines proposals for meeting

the objectives of the International Aid

Transparency Initiative (IATI) without

disproportionate cost, and explains what

value IATI would add to existing systems

for reporting aid. Detailed work on

implementation issues is scheduled

through the IATI Technical Advisory Group

(TAG) during 2010. Membership of the

TAG is open, and so far, over 100

individuals have contributed to its work,

including representatives of each

stakeholder group.

There are many people and organisations

with diverse, legitimate and important

needs for information about aid.

Developing country governments need

information about how aid is being spent

in their country. Parliamentarians in

developing countries and in donor

countries want to hold their government to

account. Communities in developing

countries need to know what resources

are available for their development

priorities and in what way they can

influence how those resources are used. A

village council wants to know what aid is

available to improve water in its area.

Researchers need better data to

understand how aid can be more effective.

Taxpayers want to know how their money

is being spent.

No single database can satisfactorily

meet the needs of all these potential

users.

These users all want information tailored

to their own needs. Often they want

information from many different donors,

combined with information from other

sources, such as the government’s

spending, or disease surveillance data.

Yet it is unrealistic to expect donors to

provide information separately to

hundreds of possible information systems.

This then is the dilemma: users need

information presented in ways specific

to their needs, but donors cannot

provide information to each of them

individually.

There are broadly two ways to respond to

this challenge. A limited response is for

those donors who currently report to the

Development Assistance Committee

(DAC) databases to step up

the information that they already provide,

and for all donors to improve reporting to

country government aid management

systems (AIMS).

This paper sets out a more

comprehensive response and shows how

IATI could improve reporting to existing

systems, and at the same time meet a

much wider range of needs for

information, including documents as well

as data.

Donors would extend their existing

processes for collecting information about

aid, which they currently use to report to

the DAC and other systems. They would

include additional information needed by

other stakeholders, much of which is

currently collected and provided

separately. As now, donors would choose

their own systems to manage this data

collection. They would put this combined

information into the public domain more

rapidly and in a common format. They

Executive Summarywww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 3

would register the location of the data in a

registry” – a kind of online catalogue

which enables users to find it.

This approach can be summarised as

publish once, use often”.

The combination of common, open

formats plus the registry would add huge

value to the information already being

published by donors, and the additional

information they would publish as a result

of IATI, because users would be able to

access information of particular interest to

them, in a format that is useful to them,

without having to trawl round all the donor

websites individually. This would open up

the information to a wider range of users

and democratise access to information

through services such as mobile phones

or Google.

The information collected and published

under IATI would provide the information

needed for donor reporting to existing

systems, such as DAC and country AIMS

and national budgets. This would reduce

duplicate information collection and

reporting.

To meet their commitments under the

Accra Agenda for Action (AAA), and in the

context of growing calls for government

transparency, donors are increasingly

publishing more information about aid.

Clearly this will involve some costs to

donors. These IATI proposals are

designed to minimise the additional

burden of this greater transparency, and

yet obtain the maximum benefits from their

efforts by ensuring that the information,

once collected, is universally accessible.www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 4

Ten desirable characteristics of IATI

Based on extensive stakeholder consultation summarised in Chapter One, aindinfo concludes that the

system to implement the IATI declaration signed in Accra in 2008 should:

1. meet in full the information needs of developing country government AIMS and budgets without

imposing a burden on developing countries, including complying with local definitions and

classifications;

2. build on the work that has been done through the DAC to develop common definitions and reporting

processes, and avoid the establishment of duplicate or parallel reporting processes;

3. produce information which is easily accessible to parliamentarians, civil society, the media and

citizens as well as to governments (in line with the expanded definition of country ownership agreed

at Accra);

4. provide accurate, high quality and meaningful information, and enable users to distinguish official

statistics, which have been professionally scrutinised, from management information about projects

and programmes;

5. include information about spending by non-DAC donors, multilateral organisations, foundations and

NGOs;

6. be easy to understand, reconcile, compare, add up, read alongside other sources of information,

and be easy to organise and present in ways that are useful to information users;

7. be legally open, with as few barriers to access and reuse as possible;

8. reduce duplicate reporting by donor agencies and minimise additional costs;

9. be electronically accessible in an open format so a wide range of third party intermediaries can

access the information and present it either as comprehensive information or niche analysis;

10. result in access to information about aid which is more timely, more detailed, more forward looking

and more comprehensive than existing data, and which includes wider information on aid, such as

key policy and appraisal documents and the outputs and outcomes it achieves.www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 5

The International Aid Transparency

Initiative (IATI) was launched at the Accra

High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in

September 2008. IATI is a multistakeholder initiative to accelerate access

to aid information to increase

effectiveness of aid in reducing poverty.

The Accra Agenda for Action (AAA)

recognised that increased transparency is

central to the objectives of the Paris

Declaration. Transparency is essential to

meet the five underlying principles of

ownership, alignment, harmonisation,

managing for results, and mutual

accountability. The AAA expanded the

concept of country ownership to include

parliamentarians, civil society

organisations (CSOs), academics, the

media and citizens. Donors agreed to

support efforts to increase the capacity of

all development actors to play an active

role in policy dialogue. The AAA

committed donors to “disclose regular,

detailed and timely information about our

aid flows” and to “support information

systems for managing aid”.

IATI provides a way for donors to meet

this commitment in a coherent and

consistent way. IATI has 18 signatories, of

whom 13 are DAC members. These

signatories resolved to “give strong

political direction” and “invest the

necessary resources in accelerating the

availability of aid information”.

IATI also contributes to Cluster C on

Transparent and Responsible Aid, which

sits under the Working Party on Aid

Effectiveness (WP-EFF.) IATI has been

tasked by the Cluster with developing

reporting formats and definitions for

sharing information about aid, drawing on

the expertise of the Working Party on

Statistics (WP-STAT.) Proposals

developed by IATI will be available to

inform the Cluster’s work.

IATI aims to agree a four-part standard

consisting of:

(1) an agreement on what would be

published

(2) common definitions for sharing

information

(3) a common electronic data format

(4) a code of conduct.

The details of what would be covered by

IATI and how this would be published will

be decided by the IATI members, following

detailed research by the Technical

Advisory Group (TAG) and consultation

with stakeholders. It is intended that the

standard will be adopted at first by IATI

members but it may over time be adopted

by other DAC donors, and by other nonDAC donors, other foundations and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs).

There is widespread support among

developing country governments for

extending the coverage of aid information

to non-traditional donors.

IATI responds to growing demands from

civil society and citizens for greater

transparency of information about

spending and results, and for access to

key documents as well as data. The

ambitions of IATI are consistent with many

other recent initiatives to increase

transparency, for example President

Obama’s August 2009 memo on

transparency, the World Bank’s new

disclosure policy, which represents a

Backgroundwww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 6

paradigm shift to proactive disclosure with

limited exceptions, and the development

of online information portals for citizens,

such as in Brazil. IATI seeks to harness

the power of new technology to deliver

real improvements in the lives of the

world’s poorest people, in the same way

that email, internet access and mobile

phone networks have revolutionised the

way that aid agencies themselves do their

business.

Since its launch in September 2008, IATI

has focused on consultation with

developing countries and CSOs, factfinding missions to a number of donor

countries, and detailed work by the TAG

on parts 1 and 4 of the proposed IATI

standard, covering an agreement on what

would be published and a code of

conduct.

The IATI Conference, held in The Hague

in October 2009, confirmed widespread

support for the objectives of IATI, and

consensus on the key information needs

of different stakeholders. At the same

time, it was clear during the IATI

conference that a number of stakeholders

would welcome greater clarity on how IATI

might work in practice, so that they can

consider the full implications of the

initiative for their agencies. 

 

Although detailed work on the precise

practical and technical mechanisms for

implementing IATI is only just beginning,

this paper presents a proposal on how

IATI would work, what this framework

would mean for different stakeholders, and

what added-value it is envisaged that IATI

would offer as a result.

Notes

1. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_

office/TransparencyandOpenGovernm

ent/www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 2

This chapter sets out the principles which

guide the rest of the paper. It summarises

relevant lessons learned from the

consultations with donors, partner

countries and civil society, and from

aidinfo’s extensive, in-depth research. It

sets out the requirements that IATI must

meet if it is to meet the interests of its

stakeholders.

The consultations with developing

countries and donors have yielded clear

messages, summarised in the ten

characteristics of IATI outlined in the

Executive Summary.

Developing countries believe that donors

at the country level do not give sufficient

priority to providing aid information to

national authorities, and this undermines

their efforts to put in place AIMS, and to

have reliable, up-to-date information

available for decision-making, especially in

relation to budgets. In 2007, only 48% of

aid was recorded on budget.

Developing countries’ top priority is for

timely, up-to-date and reliable

information on current and future aid

flows. They do not want “one size fits all”

information but information that they can

use for their own systems and processes.

They also want more detailed

information on where, when, by whom,

how, on what, and in which sectors aid

is spent. They stress the need for better

information to allow them to monitor

results and the impact of aid, and they

want better coverage of aid flows,

including information from global funds

and NGOs.

Information on conditions and terms was

regarded as essential; and for some,

information to assist in monitoring of Paris

Declaration targets was regarded as

useful. While contract and procurement

details were regarded as less important for

developing countries than other areas of

the proposed standard, non-statistical

information, including relevant

strategy, policy and evaluation

documents, were regarded as essential.

The areas highlighted by the CSO

consultation exercise were conditionality,

aid commitments and actual

disbursements, project impact and

complete project documentation.

The conclusions from the four donor fact -

finding missions to date was that these

donors are well-placed to comply with IATI

as most of the information required is

already captured in centralised

systems, and timely publication of

basic project information and financial

flows is achievable. Donors already have

in place systems to collect information and

report it to the DAC, and a huge amount of

work has gone into defining common

definitions. Bilateral donors are clear that

IATI should build on, and not duplicate or

undermine, these efforts.

It is also clear that donors already publish

a lot of information about the aid that they

give, but in ways that do not make it easily

accessible from the perspective of users.

Some donors attach importance to

improving the transparency of outputs and

results, as well as spending.

Forward-looking budget data presents

the greatest challenge for donors, with

most donors still deciding how to meet the

Accra commitment in this area. While

Freedom of Information legislation and

Chapter One: Stakeholder Needswww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 3

commitment to transparency have created

conducive policy environments, a move

from reactive to proactive disclosure

would require decisions on

exemptions, such as for commercially

confidential information.

It is clear from preliminary discussions that

some of the challenges in implementing

IATI will be different for multilateral

agencies and foundations. More work is

required to understand fully these

challenges, and to support non-bilateral

donors through the process of

implementation.

However it is implemented, greater

transparency will require some donors to

change their procedures to be more

systematic about gathering information in

a form that is fit for publication. While

there will inevitably be some costs to this,

there are also potentially large savings for

donors, particularly at country level, from

more systematic and pro-active collection

of data and a reduction in duplicate

reporting. These costs and benefits are

discussed in more detail in Chapter 3.

The stakeholder consultations have

provided remarkably consistent

conclusions, summarised in the ten

principles listed in the Executive

Summary.www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 4

This chapter reviews the current systems

for reporting aid information and

summarises a way that IATI could be

implemented. Thirteen of the 18 IATI

signatories are DAC bilateral donors and

for them, ensuring that IATI supports,

rather than undermines, existing reporting

mechanisms is crucial. The situation is

different for multilateral agencies and

foundations, and further discussions are

required to understand fully the challenges

they will face in implementing IATI.

Subsequent chapters look in more detail

at what these IATI proposals would mean

for specific stakeholders.

Current reporting systems

At present, donor agencies are typically

involved in several different kinds of

reporting on aid projects and programmes

[see figure 1]. Most agencies have an

internal information system, such as a

management information system (MIS).

This information is used for a variety of

purposes, such as planning, monitoring

and managing aid allocations and

producing annual reports or reports to

Parliament.

The current gold standard for aid

information is the aid databases managed

by the DAC. All DAC donors are required

to report data to the DAC each year –

some do this using information taken

directly from their MIS, while others

maintain a separate database for DAC

reporting. This reporting, which occupies

considerable effort on the part of donors,

is the most authoritative and

comprehensive source of aid information.

To serve information needs at country

level, donors also provide detailed

information to more than fifty AIMS that

have been adopted by partner country

governments. These databases serve a

different purpose from the DAC; and they

represent a huge advance because before

they were developed, there was no

effective mechanism for the management

of aid information in developing countries.

While the AIMS are a great step forward,

they too cannot meet every need for

information. They are designed to help

finance and planning ministries with

overall fiscal management, but they

typically do not contain sufficient detail

and richness of information to fulfill the

needs of line ministries (and they would be

unwieldy to maintain and use if they

attempted to do so). And there are many

other stakeholders – such as

parliamentarians, CSOs, academics,

journalists and citizens – who need

additional information.

The result is that in addition to reporting to

the DAC and to the country AIMS, donors

also face a growing range of overlapping

requests for related information.

One of the concerns expressed about

IATI is that it would create a parallel

reporting system. In reality, this is a

description of the current situation,

which IATI aims to help solve. IATI

aims instead to reduce duplication by

allowing donors to publish information

once in a form that meets a wider

variety of needs.

In many ways, the status quo represents

the worst of all possible worlds: donors are

already burdened by a multitude of parallel

requests for information at both country

and headquarter level, but despite their

best efforts, the information they make

Chapter Two: Publish Once, Use Oftenwww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 5

available does not fully meet the needs of

different users.

Furthermore, the level of demand for aid

information is likely to increase. The

welcome spread of AIMS, increasing

expectations of open access to data, and

the growing use of Freedom of Information

legislation are all putting pressures on

donors to publish more information for a

wider range of uses.

The existing systems are extremely

important and donors and developing

countries have put a lot of effort into

developing and maintaining them. It is

desirable in its own right to further develop

those systems and to improve reporting.

But these systems, however well

designed, cannot meet the legitimate

needs of all stakeholders, nor meet all of

the essential requirements set out in the

previous chapter.

The IATI mechanism would to help

improve reporting to those systems, and

more, in a cost effective way. Given the

huge changes in technology and the

consensus about the importance of

transparency for greater aid effectiveness,

a more practical and sustainable response

to this challenge is for donors routinely to

publish more detailed and comprehensive

information about aid. Donors can build on

their existing mechanisms to collect

information to report to the DAC, and use

them to collect additional information to

provide to country AIMS and to meet other

needs for aid information. As well as

providing the information to these

systems, they would put it into the public

domain quickly and in a common format.

Figure 1: The situation today: publish many, use rarelywww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 6

This information, once gathered and

published, can be used by donors as the

basis of fulfilling their various reporting

obligations, and it can meet a wide array

of new uses for the information, while

reducing rather than adding to the burden

on donors [see Figure 2].

This approach can be characterised as

publish once, use often”.

Under the arrangements proposed here,

each donor would extend their existing

data collection systems to bring together

more detailed information about their aid

programmes and activities. (IATI

members have begun to discuss, but have

not yet agreed upon, the scope of this

additional information). They would

routinely publish this information online in

a common electronic data format (which

IATI members would need to discuss and

agree). They would then register where

their aid data are located (i.e. an internet

address) in an online IATI registry. The

information published by donors would

contain the basis for reporting about

projects and programmes both to the DAC

and to developing country AIMS; and it

could also be used by a wide variety of

intermediary organisations to provide

bespoke and niche services to other

users.

How will this work?

Donors would be responsible for

gathering detailed information about each

project or programme, classifying them

according to both a global classification

(based on current definitions, most notably

the DAC) and local classifications

(consistent with AIMS and budget

classifications). This would normally be

done by staff in country offices, as now.

They would tag the projects using DAC

classifications; and they would tag it with

other classifications. Donors would

assemble this information using their own

internal systems, apply internal quality

control, and then export it into data files in

a common electronic format. (Donors

already use a common format, called

USIF, for reporting to the DAC. The IATI

format, when it is agreed, would be

consistent with this, so it would be simple

to convert IATI data into USIF.)

Donor agencies use a variety of different

means to collect information to meet their

existing reporting obligations. These

could be extended to include the broader

range of information needed for reporting

under IATI, about which agreement has

not yet been reached.

Donors would publish their IATI data

online, either on their own websites or, if

they prefer, on third party sites, and they

would register the location of the data with

the IATI registry. (The registry is a kind of

online catalogue that points users to the

information they need.) Having

assembled and published the data in the

IATI format, donors would have already

done the bulk of the work required to

assemble the information needed report

their aid in the relevant formats and time

periods to the DAC and to developing

country AIMS.

Developing country governments could,

if they wish, continue to receive data from

donors as they do now. Over time, as

automatic data transfer of aid information

is further developed and piloted, they may

want to take advantage of IATI to adapt

their AIMS to collect the information

automatically from the published IATI

data, which would involve a

straightforward modification to their

software. Provided that this proves to be

successful, this would further enhance the

value of the AIMS, improving the quality,

timeliness and coverage of information

while reducing the burden of data

collection.

Line ministries needing more detailed

information than is collected in the AIMS

would be able to access the samewww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 7

published IATI data to access additional

detail about the projects and programmes.

This would enable line ministries to have

more detailed information than they can

get from the AIMS but still be sure that it is

consistent with the information being used

by their finance ministry.

Parliamentarians, CSOs, citizens and

the media would be able to access the

information directly from donor websites if

they wish. (Because many of the AIMS

are not publicly accessible, reporting to

the AIMS itself does not meet their

information needs). These key

stakeholders would see the same

information as is being provided to

developing country governments.

Increasingly, however, these users would

look to third party information

intermediaries. The intermediaries would

be able to use the IATI data to provide

more tailored information, and present it in

a more accessible way (for example, in

local languages) and through a variety of

mediums (for example, through mobile

phones, radio or posters as well as

websites).

Figure 2: IATI proposal: Publish once, use oftenwww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 8

By routinely publishing information in a

common format, IATI would open the way

to new technologies, such as mobile

phones and Google maps, to provide

detailed information to users in developing

countries. As a result, a much wider

range of country stakeholders would have

access to the same information about aid

that donors currently supply privately to

governments.

Notes

1. In this report, “project” is used to

describe a unit of reporting. In practice,

this term may cover many activities that

are not projects in the conventional sense.

2. AidData, a collaboration between

the Development Gateway, William &

Mary College and Brigham Young

University, intends to provide this service.www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 9

This chapter considers the implications for

donors of the proposed arrangements,

and describes in more detail the options

for them.

The current situation

At present, in most donor agencies,

country-based staff are responsible for

recording information about the aid

projects that they administer; while

headquarters staff record information

about spending administered centrally.

Information required for donor reporting

(for example,. to parliaments and the

DAC) is provided to donor headquarters,

usually by way of an MIS or other internal

reporting system. The DAC reporter

supplies this information in a common

electronic format to the DAC.

Country office staff provide information to

AIMS, usually via a spreadsheet or email,

and respond to additional requests for

information from line ministries and other

stakeholders.

This means that where global reporting

standards (for example,. DAC

classifications) differ from local

classifications (for example,. in AIMS)

donors that supply information to both are

already having to classify each project in

two different ways.

The proposed IATI mechanism

Under the IATI mechanism proposed here,

donors would routinely assemble more

information about each project as the

project is being designed and

implemented. (The exact coverage of this

information has yet to be agreed by the

IATI members). This information would

undergo internal quality control and then

be routinely and automatically published.

The box below (see page 11) describes

several different ways donors might

choose to do that, building on the variety

of systems that donors presently have in

place to meet their reporting requirements.

The information gathered about projects

and programmes would be designed to

meet in full the needs of the local aid

management system, the local finance

ministry and line ministries and central

reporting needs.

For example, the information gathered

about an education project to build

schools in Ethiopia might include:

a. information about the size of

commitments, terms, and dates of

disbursement, long descriptions, and

implementing agents; this information

would be used by everyone using the

data;

b. the DAC Creditor Reporting System

(CRS) sector codes for the project;

c. the sector codes used by PASDEP

(Ethiopia’s Plan for Accelerated and

Sustained Development to End

Poverty) which are needed for reporting

to the Ethiopia Aid Management

Platform);

d. The woredas (i.e. local government

areas) in which the schools will be built

(this information is reported to both the

Education Ministry and the Finance

Ministry);

e. The number and sizes of classrooms to

be built (information needed by the

Chapter Three: Donorswww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 1 0

Figure 3: Multiple overlapping classification

Education Ministry but not by the

Finance Ministry, and which is not

included in the AMP).

Under IATI, this information would be

assembled by the donor staff in the

country office, and recorded in the donor’s

internal information system (usually, a MIS

system).

Taken together, this information would

provide the basis for reporting to the DAC

CRS, to the local AIMS, and it would

provide more specific information to the

line ministry. It is mostly information that

donors already have internally, usually

within an existing information system, and

which they already make available to the

government, though not usually to the

public unless they are specifically asked.

Individual donors would retain flexibility

about how they collect information and

store it; they would be responsible for

converting their aid information into the

data format that IATI members agree

upon.

Classifications

Donor staff (usually those responsible for

managing a project or programme) would

classify projects according to both

universal and local classifications.

Most,perhaps 80 percent, of the data

collected about each project would be

universal – for example, the dates and

amounts of transactions and the financial

terms.

The data would be classified according to

the classifications agreed in the DAC on

classifications for the CRS database. In

addition, they would be classified

according to other universal

classifications, to be agreed by IATI

members, which would be based on

existing taxonomies, such as COFOG or

FTS.

In addition to the universal classifications,

each project would also be tagged with

any specific classifications and information

needed for local systems (for example,

AIMS and national budget classifications).

This information would also include

information about outputs and results.

This means that every project would be

routinely coded according to both

universal and local definitions. This

may appear to be additional work because

it means double coding some information

for each project. But donors already have

to double code every project so that they

can report it both to the DAC and to the

local AIMS. The main difference from now

would be that projects would be routinely

classified as they are developed and

agreed, and this information would be

published more rapidly as unified,

consistent and universally accessible data,

rather than supplied separately when

requested. Moreover, where projects are

funded by multiple donors, it would

increase consistency of coding if the

correct classification is agreed when

finalising the arrangements. www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 1 1

How donors might choose to collect and publish information

Donors would need to gather information on each project or programme. They would

continue to use their own systems for doing this, then convert and publish this data in an

agreed common, electronic format. DAC donors already have systems in place to do

this to enable them to report to the DAC. In most cases, they would simply extend those

existing systems to collect a bigger range of information, classified in more detail, to

meet the needs of IATI.

a. Some donors may want to adapt their Management Information Systems to

collect the information as part of the project management cycle, and then to

produce the IATI data automatically from the MIS. For most donors, this would

be simple and cheap. Some donors may adapt their MIS to do this next time they

are updating or upgrading it.

b. Other donors may want to use an existing or new internal project database, for

example a web-based intranet. (This could be provided as a secure web service

by third-party organisations.) Staff would enter the information onto a web form,

and the database would produce the IATI information in the required format.

c. Other donors presently use spreadsheets or manual data collection. These

donors could continue with this approach, extending it to include the information

their staff are already supplying at country level to local aid management

systems.

Once the complete data are collected in a collection of spreadsheets, a database or in

an MIS system, it is technically straightforward to export the data into whatever

electronic format IATI members eventually agree on.

Location of data & the registry

Donors would be able to choose whether

to publish their IATI data in a single data

file or in several, and they would publish

these online. Some donor countries may

wish to have a single repository for all their

aid, others may want to publish data in

different locations for different aid

agencies. Smaller donors might want to

have their data hosted by a third party

organisation.

This flexibility is possible because users

would always be able to locate the data by

way of the “registry”, a kind of online

catalogue that signposts the location of all

the data.

Each time a donor adds new data or

updates existing data they would send an

automatic electronic notification to a

central “registry”. The registry would keep

track of which IATI data sets are available,

what they cover, and where they are

located. (The registry is not an aid

database, and does not keep a copy of the

data). The registry is a signposting system

used either by a person – using, for

example, a web browser – or by a

computer programme, such as a database

or an accounting system.

A database (most notably a country AIMS

system) would be able to interrogate the

registry automatically to find out where all

the data relevant to that database can be

found. This means that each database can www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 1 2

update itself automatically, either at

regular intervals or whenever a donor

notifies the registry that it has published

new data.

Quality and accuracy

As donors move to become more

transparent, it is important that the

information they publish is of sufficient

quality. There is a direct trade-off with

timeliness – information is more useful if is

available in good time, especially for aid

management purposes, but this reduces

the time available for central scrutiny and

checking.

Any moves to greater transparency have

to balance the need for high quality data

with the need to make more information

accessible in a timely manner.

The specific features of this IATI proposal

for minimising the risks and maintaining

quality are:

mistakes often arise from problems

reconciling and aggregating information

from many different sources. IATI

would, under these proposals, make it

much easier to reconcile information;

projects and programmes would be

usually classified and coded at the time

by the staff with the most direct

experience of those projects;

organisations often take more care

over accuracy of information that is

going to be published;

the adoption of common definitions

would reduce the risk of

misunderstandings both for users and

for those assembling the information.

It is the responsibility of the users

themselves to decide whether and how

much to use timely but less scrutinised

data, depending on their particular

purpose. The proposed IATI system will

enable users to see clearly which

information has benefited from DAC’s

additional quality control.

Common classifications require more than

a rule book: they require a shared

understanding among the people

recording the information and the people

using it. It will be important that donors

invest in training staff and communication

to understand what the classifications and

definitions mean, and the importance of

doing this well. This is particularly true for

multilateral agencies, non-DAC donors,

NGOS and foundations who do not

routinely use all (or in some cases any) of

the existing DAC classifications. Rather

like financial management, understanding

the meanings of the terms used to classify

aid information and recognising the

importance of accurate reporting will

increasingly need to be core competences

within donor agencies.

To avoid misunderstanding of the data,

and the additional work that this imposes

on donor staff, it will also be important for

donors to support capacity building for

organisations and individuals that use IATI

information so that they interpret it

accurately and understand its limitations.

IATI data will include meta data which

describes the source of the data and what

it means, and there will be public

documentation describing the

classifications and their meaning and

limitations.

Costs and savings

Donors will have to do some things

differently as a result of greater

transparency irrespective of the system

used to implement it, and there will

inevitably be costs attached to doing so.

The information some donors collect and

use internally and provide to partner

governments is not intended to be made

public. Any system which makes this

information available to the public will www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 1 3

mean those donors will have to tighten

their processes to make this information

suitable for publication. This is an

unavoidable result of publishing this

additional information, and does not

depend on the choice of mechanism for

IATI.

IATI will involve some additional, upfront

costs for donors, but at the same time, it

can help donors to avoid unnecessary

administrative costs of collecting

information and multiple reporting. This

will not only minimise the costs of greater

transparency in the future, it will potentially

reduce the existing costs of reporting aid

information. The possible savings for

donors are quite large. Based on a small

survey of donor country offices² aidinfo

estimates that donors currently employ the

equivalent of 350 full time staff at country

level to provide detailed information about

aid to their headquarters for reporting to

the DAC, to country AIMS and to answer

other information requests about aid. We

estimate that routine publication of

detailed aid information in an accessible

form would substantially reduce this work,

saving approximately $7 million a year for

IATI signatories (as a whole) by reducing,

though not entirely eliminating, the work

involved in duplicate manual reporting of

aid information.

Under the IATI proposals, donors would

adapt their information systems to collect

more detailed information needed about

each project and programme and to

publish it. The challenges in doing so will

be different for different donors, and over

the coming months, the TAG will be

undertaking further donor fact-finding

missions to gain a better understanding of

the specific obstacles faced by individual

donors, and the support they will need in

implementing IATI.

The cost of adapting systems will depend

on (a) what kind of IT system the donor is

using; (b) the extent to which they are

already collecting the information required;

and (c) the details of what the IATI

members decide to include within the IATI

standard. IATI members have not

reached agreement on important features

of the IATI system, such as the

information that would be collected and

published and the electronic format they

would use, and these decisions will also

have a bearing on the costs.

The TAG has conducted four visits to

donors (UK, Netherlands, Germany and

World Bank) to understand in more detail

what the cost would be of adapting

systems to collect information and publish

it in a common format.

Based on those visits, and following

further discussions with technical staff in

donor agencies, an independent IT and

financial management consultant grouped

all the IATI donors into five categories,

according to the extent of systems

changes they would need to implement

IATI. The likely costs of the changes that

would be needed was estimated

separately for each group, using

information provided confidentially by

donors about the costs of systems

changes in the recent past.

In the case of agencies that already have

a MIS system which collects the required

information, the cost of publishing the

information in whatever IATI format is

eventually agreed may be as little as

$100K. In other cases, more work would

be needed to adapt systems to collect

additional data and publish it. But it

appears that even in these cases the

overall cost per agency is still likely to be

in the order of $500K. We would stress

that these estimates are provisional, but

even if the costs of implementing IATI

prove to be significantly higher – even

double aidinfo’s current estimates – they

would still be small compared with the

significant benefits delivered to both donor

agencies and partner countries. www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 1 4

As the IATI process moves towards more

specific conclusions about the scope of

what would be published, and the

mechanism for doing so, and before final

agreements are reached, donors will want

to look in more detail at the cost

implications of the emerging proposals to

validate these estimates.

These preliminary estimates of

implementation costs, and savings by

reducing duplicate reporting, imply that the

efficiency savings resulting from the IATI

proposals would cover the costs of

implementing IATI in one or two years.

The evidence also suggests that including

additional categories of information in IATI

would not substantially increase the

implementation costs, but would

significantly increase the savings by

making it more likely that duplicate

reporting would be eliminated. Broader

coverage of IATI could therefore be more

cost-effective than narrower coverage.

Increased transparency also opens the

way to significant improvements in the

effectiveness of aid by reducing diversion

and capture, reducing unpredictability,

improving accountability and service

delivery, improving coordination,

facilitating research, improving aid

allocation and increasing public support

for development. The size of these

benefits is uncertain. Based on a thorough

analysis of existing literature, aidinfo

estimates that reduced diversion of funds

and increased predictability alone could

result in very large improvements in aid

effectiveness, perhaps equivalent to an

increase in aid of $1 or $2 billion a year.

These benefits are obviously much larger

than any likely cost of implementation.

Notes

1. For example, the agreed common

data format might be an extension of

Unified Standard Input Format (USIF)

currently used by donors for reporting the

DAC; or it might be an XML schema, like

International Development Markup

Language (IDML), the common format

used by AIDA.

2. World Bank, the United Kingdom,

Germany and the Netherlands.www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 1 5

IATI & the DAC

The most comprehensive and authoritative source of aid information is provided by donors to the

Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD. Donors have mandated the DAC to define

ODA, and to collect, validate and aggregate data from DAC donors to produce information for

comparative purposes including tracking progress in meeting agreed quantitative and qualitative

targets on aid.

The information published by the DAC is the result of considerable efforts to define common

standards for aid reporting, to build a system for data exchange, and the result of efforts of DAC

reporters, members of WP-STAT and DAC staff to ensure that data are comprehensive and

accurately reported.

Access to aid information through the DAC has improved as a result of the introduction of a more

user-friendly interface to the database, and the introduction of an improved reporting system called

CRS++.

IATI aims to support and extend this work. It is clear from the stakeholder consultations that it must

not become a parallel reporting initiative. IATI would mean that donors place in the public domain the

information that they provide to the DAC in a more timely manner, supplemented by extra information

which is not published by the DAC (much of which donors are currently providing elsewhere). This

approach supports reporting to the DAC without duplicating it, and adds value in a number of ways:

More information would be gathered and placed in the public domain than is currently reported

to the DAC. The information would go beyond official aid statistics to include both qualitative

and quantitative information needed for planning, coordination and accountability at country

level.

The information would be available more quickly than it is through the DAC, having been

through internal quality control within donor agencies but without the benefit of prior scrutiny by

DAC staff.

The information that is presently reported by donors to the DAC and to other systems would be

publicly available in a consistent and coherent form, so reducing the burden on users to

reconcile information from multiple data sources.

IATI has the scope to cover a wider range of donors than the DAC, including, over time, nonDAC official donors, foundations and NGOs. (It should be noted that some of these are

beginning to report to the DAC).

The IATI data would be more easily accessible to third parties, enabling a wide range of

information intermediaries to use the data to provide services tailored to users’ needs.

Because the data published by donors under IATI includes the project and programme information

that they would report to the DAC, this would not require an additional parallel process within donor

agencies. Donors would be able to use this information to compile their subsequent reports to the

DAC.

This process would add value to the DAC reporting itself. There would be more political and

managerial focus within donor agencies on the need to collect and publish information about aid

programmes, which would increase the resources for, and the quality and timeliness of, reporting by

donor staff. Over time, more development agencies would have better systems for collecting and

publishing information about their activities using common definitions and data formats, simplifying

DAC reporters’ task of collating information for submission to the DAC. Because data would routinely

be published, there would be stronger pressure within donor agencies to gather and record accurate

information.

DAC statistics, assembled with more elaborate systems of quality control to check for consistency and

accuracy of classifications, would continue to be the authoritative retrospective source of development

statistics. But these statistics do not meet, nor should they try to fulfil, the wide range of legitimate

needs for faster, broader, more detailed information for the purposes of aid management, planning

and accountability.www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 1 6

Developing countries would not have to

make any changes to their systems in the

light of the introduction of the proposed

system; in practice, however, they may

want to take advantage of IATI to

automate the collection of information for

their country AIMS and for other

information needs, as soon as this has

been fully developed and tested. Cost

and capacity issues resulting from this will

need to be further discussed and

addressed by members as IATI moves

towards implementation.

Developing country partners would benefit

directly from the publication by donors of

data that are more complete, more

comprehensive, more timely and more

accurate than the information they receive

from donors today. IATI would strengthen

and support reporting to AIMS and to

other developing country systems.

IATI would improve information in

developing countries because:

donors would make a stronger and

more accountable commitment to

provide comprehensive data and

information;

donors would put in place more

systematic mechanisms to collect,

structure and publish information

needed by developing country

governments;

data provided by donors would also be

publicly available at the same time,

resulting in stronger internal pressures

to improve quality of the data;

because the information would be

public, civil society would be able to

hold donors to account so increasing

donors’ incentives to report

comprehensively and accurately;

publication of a common dataset to

serve as the basis of all reporting by

donors would reduce inconsistencies,

double counting and missing data, and

make it possible to reconcile data from

a variety of sources.

The IATI information datasets would

contain all the information, suitably

classified, needed for local AIMS.

Developing countries would not have

to change their AIMS or budget

classifications at all.

Once the donors have published

information in the IATI format, it should be

straightforward to automate the exchange

of data into the country AIMS, if partner

countries wish to do so. Alternatively, they

could continue to receive data as they do

now. One of the main suppliers of country

AIMS estimates that, once the system for

doing so has been fully developed and

tested, the cost of adapting an AIMS

system to collect information automatically

from IATI data will be relatively low. (Once

information is in a single format and

suitably structured, it is cheap and easy to

transfer it into a database).

The automatic exchange of information

between donors and developing country

governments will be tested through IATI

pilots in 2010.

Line ministries in developing countries

need more detailed information about

Chapter Four: Developing Countrieswww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 1 7

donor activities in their sector than they

can get from the AIMS. Donors who have

supplied information to the AIMS are

understandably reluctant to engage in a

separate exercise to report this additional

information.

Under the IATI proposals, donors would

publish detailed information, from which

the finance or planning ministry would be

able to draw the high level data needed for

the AIMS system, which is at the heart of

their fiscal planning and management.

Line ministries would be able to access

the more detailed information that they

need for the purposes of sector planning

and monitoring. In this way the information

used by line ministries would be narrower

but more detailed than the information

held in the AIMS. This means that the

information used by the line ministry would

be consistent and reconcilable with the

information used by the finance ministry.

At the same time, the donors would have

fewer reporting obligations. This is an

example of how “publish once, use often”

is an advantage for both donors and

developing country partners.

To the extent that more extensive, timely

and detailed information about aid would

be publicly available under IATI than now,

this would increase accountability

pressures on developing countries as well

as on donors. This increased

accountability is in line with the principles

agreed at Accra of country, not just

government, ownership of the aid

relationship. www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 1 8

The Accra Agenda for Action is clear that

country ownership means more than just

government ownership. Parliaments, civil

society, the media and citizens also have

an important role to play in the

accountability of their own governments,

service providers, international NGOs and

donors. Access to information about aid is

pre-requisite for being able to play this role

effectively.

The information needs of citizens and

members of parliament are not likely to be

met directly by databases run by

governments, donors, or international

organisations. Those organisations do not

have the capacity, incentives, or customer

focus needed to enable them to make

information easy to access and simple to

use.

These stakeholders are often primarily

interested in the overall resources flowing

to a particular sub-national administration

or available for a particular topic, and

rather less interested in the individual

activities of a single donor or even the

sum of all aid agencies taken together.

They want aid information, but mainly to

enable them to combine it with information

from other sources and about other kinds

of resources. They also want access to

documents, as well as data.

Under the arrangements proposed here,

citizens and parliamentarians are not likely

to access directly the raw data and

Chapter Five: Citizens and Parliaments

Figure 4: Example of Aid Management Portalwww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 1 9

documents provided by donors, though

they could if they wished. Instead they

would be more likely to access information

through third party intermediaries.

These intermediaries, discussed in the

next chapter, might be public sector,

private sector or non-profit organisations.

The publication of data online in a

common format would enable such

organisations to access and use

information at very little set-up cost. There

would be at least some services

attempting to aggregate all aid information

in one place in a user-friendly way, but

many citizens are more likely to want to

use niche services, providing information

about a particular topic, because such a

service would be more tailored to their

interests and easy for them to use.

In many cases these intermediary services

would bring together information about aid

with other kinds of information (for

example, about poverty levels or disease

rates) to serve the particular interests of

their users [see Figure 4 for an example]. www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 2 0

The publication of information online in a

common format would open up aid

information to a wide variety of information

intermediaries (“infomediaries”). These

proposals would make it possible for

infomediaries to access, combine and

reuse aid data published by donors.

IATI would dramatically reduce the

barriers to entry for such infomediaries.

Once the information is online in a

common format, and can be found by way

of the registry, it is technically very easy to

develop a website or database that uses

the data in new and interesting ways.

Intermediaries would use the IATI registry

to get the location of the data they are

interested in (for example, all data about

Kenya, or all data about HIV or education).

They would then be able to assemble the

data automatically into a combined

dataset. They would also be able to

access meta-data which explains what the

data mean.

The information would be free, and there

would be an explicit licence giving

certainty to infomediaries that they are

legally allowed to republish it.

The agreement of internationally agreed

definitions and classifications would

reduce the risk of misunderstandings

about what the data actually mean. IATI

members should invest more in training

CSOs, parliamentarians and citizens to

use the existing sources of aid

information, and helping them to use the

information accurately and effectively. IATI

should also be accompanied by extensive

documentation, capacity building and

information to educate users about the

meaning and limitations of the data.

This approach would enable infomediaries

to juxtapose aid information against other

information such as government spending,

disease burdens or geography. The

services may be in local languages, and

not all would be internet-based. Some, for

example, may provide information through

mobile phones, local radio stations or

posters for local communities.

It is likely that some donors would want to

provide funding and technical assistance

to organisations to help them to establish

and operate these services.

For some purposes, some infomediaries

would want to use only data that has the

status of official statistics (for example,

information that has had a seal of approval

from the OECD DAC).

If the OECD DAC publishes data listing

the information they have verified, this

could be read alongside the IATI data

published by donors. In this way,

intermediaries would be able to distinguish

the data which has benefited from DAC

scrutiny, or indeed to restrict themselves

to this data if they wish.

Unlocking information and reducing

barriers to entry so that information can be

used by a wide range of intermediaries is

one of the most powerful ways that

donors can make aid information more

accessible to people in developing

countries as well as to citizens of donor

nations. The success of IATI will be

greatly dependent on whether the

information is produced in a sufficiently

easy to access way to make it possible for

these organisations to develop new and

innovative services.

Chapter Six: Information Intermediarieswww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 2 1

A vision of aid transparency

The proposed combination of

comprehensive information published in

common, open formats, located through a

registry, would add huge value to the

information being published by donors.

Users would be able to access information

of particular interest to them, in a format

that is useful to them, without having to

trawl round all the donor websites

individually.

This would open up the information to a

wider range of users and democratise

access to information through services,

such as mobile phones or Google. The

information could be shared electronically,

gathered and presented to users in ways

that meet their particular needs.

An everyday example of this kind of

process is the way that information about

the weather is gathered from a variety of

different sources, aggregated by specialist

organisations, and presented to users

through a variety of different media (see

diagram below).

In Senegal, the weather forecast is read

out to the fishermen as they set sail each

morning, broadcast over loudspeakers

strung up along the coast. The reader

gets the information from Yahoo, which in

turn has pulled the information from a

variety of government sources.

Once aid information is widely available in

a common format, a whole series of new

applications could be developed. These

might include:

a portal for information on a particular

topic – such as tropical diseases –

which brings together information

about the challenges, the investments

that are being made by the public and

the private sectors, including financed

by aid, and the impact that this is

having.

An information source for

parliamentarians in a particular

country, bringing together information

about all the aid coming into the

country, that can then be juxtaposed

to information about revenues from

extractive industries, climate change

funds, and the government’s own

revenues and expenditures, in order

to improve parliamentary scrutiny.

A platform which publishes

information about all the HIV/AIDS

services in a particular area, which

enables providers to add specific

details about their services, together

with maps and photographs, which

enables users of those services to

provide feedback about their

experiences, all linked back to the

original funders. These services could

gather information by SMS or word of

mouth, and share information through

the media and community groups.

Chapter Seven: Conclusionswww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 2 2

The development of accounting and

financial management systems for

public services in developing

countries which gather information

about aid projects directly from the

IATI information published by donors,

enabling public servants to see the

expected future provision of aid for

public services and how public

services complement other aid

projects.

The development of donor-specific

websites, to enable taxpayers, whose

money finances aid, to track what has

happened to their money.

The purpose of aid, and of aid

transparency, is to accelerate the

reduction of poverty. IATI would open the

way to innovative uses of new

technologies to increase accountability,

reduce transaction costs, improve

performance and make aid more effective.

It is a critical step towards government of

the people, by the people, for the peoplewww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 2 3

This appendix considers the advantages

and disadvantages of other possible ways

to make aid more transparent. These are

not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Four options are considered in turn:

a. Donors agree to improve their

reporting to country level AIMS;

b. Donors agree to improve their

reporting to the Development

Assistance Committee Creditor

Reporting System (DAC CRS);

c. Donors agree to put more data about

aid on their websites;

d. Donors create a single large database

containing all aid data.

As set out below, while the first three

options all offer added value, aidinfo

believes that none of these options on

their own would achieve the goals of IATI;

pursuing all three independently would

move closer to these goals, but at

disproportionate cost to donors; whereas

the “publish once, use often” proposal in

this paper would enable all three of these

options to be easily implemented.

A: Improved reporting to AIMS

There are many things donors can and

should do to improve reporting to AIMS.

But this alone would not meet all IATI

objectives:

because no single database can meet

the needs of all users of aid

information. Improving the information

flowing to the AIMS would be of value

to the users of that database, but would

not meet the needs of other users (for

example, line ministries);

this would not increase the information

available to the wider community,

unless all AIMS were made public

it would not increase the accountability

of donors for meeting their

transparency commitments, since there

would be no way to monitor what had

been reported;

it would not make it easy for third-party

organisations to develop services

targeted to, and accessible by,

particular users;

it would not reduce duplicate reporting;

pressure would continue to increase for

donors to provide additional information

to a variety of other services.

B: Improved reporting to the DAC

CRS

This option has the advantage of

expanding an existing system for

standardised reporting of aid data. It does

not require the establishment of new

systems or processes.

The main disadvantages of this are:

the DAC deals primarily with statistical

data, not with some of the wider aid

information that users want;

the DAC databases are designed to

facilitate information exchange about

past aid flows and to serve the needs

of donor for comparable information,

rather than the needs of people in

developing countries; it is not part of

their mandate, organisation or culture

to provide information for day-to-day

aid management in developing

countries;

Appendix One: Other Optionswww.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 2 4

it is clear from the consultations that it

is a high priority for developing

countries to have information not just

from DAC donors but also from nonDAC official donors, foundations,

NGOs and others; it is hoped that the

IATI approach will spread to a wider

number of donors and development

actors;

despite recent improvements in the

user interface, the DAC databases are

still complex to access for a wide

variety of users; inevitably,

governments and international

organisations cannot provide the

resources and incentives to provide a

wide range of user-oriented services;

uniform DAC definitions would not meet

the specific needs of in-country AIMS;

this information would have to be

reported separately as now, so the

problems of duplicate reporting would

continue to grow;

the DAC process is designed to provide

complete official statistics, not to

provide timely management information

for coordination and planning. The

systems and culture would need to be

significantly changed to meet the

objectives of IATI, since many donors

would struggle to provide more timely

data from their central statistical

reporting systems.

C: Improved publication of data

on donor websites

Another option is for donors to publish

more information on their websites

independently, without agreeing common

formats or setting up a registry.

This option has the advantage of simplicity

for donors. Publication on websites would

concentrate the minds of donors on

improving data collection and reporting,

which would have benefits for other data

users.

The main disadvantages of this websiteonly approach are:

information would be published in many

different formats, making comparisons

between donors difficult, and users

would have to locate many different

websites independently, without the

help of a central catalogue or registry;

this does not make it easier to provide

information to country level AIMS;

most users of aid information do not

want donor-specific information; they

want information about all aid provided

for specific countries, regions or

sectors; providing information just in

separate donor databases does not

make it possible to aggregate

information across donors;

donor databases are not easy to

access and use; governments do not

have the resources or the incentive to

meet the needs of a wide variety of

users.

D: Create a single large new

database

The main disadvantages of building a big

new database are:

it would require an organisation and

staff to design, build and manage such

a database; to investigate user

requirements; to verify data and

maintain the systems;

one database would not meet the

needs of all users; there would be no

competition among different services to

meet the needs of users;

it would add to multiple reporting

requirements on donors;www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 2 5

the IATI publication system set out here

enables third parties to build a big

global aggregator database if they want

(for example, the Development

Gateway Foundation is working on a

universal database); so users wanting

a single database containing all aid

data would be able to find one which

would be more comprehensive than,

but consistent with, the DAC database.

Summary of options

Each of these options is worthwhile, but

none would meet the objectives of IATI set

out in Chapter One. The table on the

following page assesses each option.

The proposed system of proactive

collection and publication of

comprehensive data in a common format

to meet multiple reporting needs would

enable donors to achieve all of these four

options simultaneously: they could

improve reporting to AIMS, improve

reporting to the DAC, enable the

construction of a single aid data

repository; and publish more and better

data on their own websites. www.aidinfo.org www.aidtransparency.net P a g e | 2 6

Improved

reporting to

AIMS

Improved

reporting to

DAC / CRS

More aid

data on

websites

Create

single large

database

Publish

information

in a

common

format

(IATI

proposal)

Meets needs of

AIMS, local

definitions and

classifications

YES NO NO POSSIBLY YES

Uses – and adds to

- CRS standards

and reporting

NO YES NO POSSIBLY YES

Accessible to

CSOs, parliament

and others

NO POSSIBLY NO YES YES

Accurate, easy to

distinguish what

has been verified

NO YES PARTIALLY NO YES

Includes non-DAC

donors, NGOs,

foundations

POSSIBLY PARTIALLY POSSIBLY POSSIBLY PARTIALLY

Easy to reconcile,

compare, reuse,

mix with other

sources of

information

NO NO NO NO YES

Free and legally

open

NO POSSIBLY POSSIBLY NO YES

Reduce duplicate

reporting

NO NO NO NO YES

Reduces barriers

to third party

intermediaries

NO NO POSSIBLY NO YES

Timely, detailed,

forward looking,

comprehensive

POSSIBLY NO POSSIBLY POSSIBLY YESFirst Floor

Keward Court

Keward Business Park

Jocelyn Drive

WELLS BA5 1DB

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 1749 671 343

www.aidinfo.org

Aid Works.

But it could work better

aidinfo works to enable full and

transparent access to poverty resource

information. Information that is complete

and timely, includes future and past

resource flows, is presented in a format

allowing for easy data mash-ups and

allows for feedback from all those

interested in poverty – especially those

who need this information to transform

their own lives.

We are doing this because we believe in

the transformative power of information:

People in poor countries could hold their

governments to account for the delivery of

required services.

Governments in developing countries

could plan more joined-up programmes to

target those most in need.

People in donor countries might

increase their commitment to aid, now

they can track how it is spent.

Journalists and advocacy

organizations could check that resources

are being used in the most effective way.

Donors and aid professionals could

increase the effectiveness of their

programmes and their overall impact on

poverty reduction.

www.aidtransparency.net

http://www.aidtransparency.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/Implementing-IATI-Jan-2010-v2.pdf

Open Their Eyes: How the Open Access Movement has Changed the

Scholarly Publishing World for Academics

Margaret A. Driscoll

LIBR 287-05: The Open Movement and Libraries

San Jose State University

School of Library and Information Science

November 4, 2009 Introduction

The scholarly publishing world is somewhat secretive and mysterious.  It is especially mysterious to

those who exist outside of it, but even tenured college faculty members have been confused by the

process and impact of publishing.  For many years there have been specific expectations and procedures

for conducting research in the sciences and humanities, and even more specific policies for writing,

submitting, and having one’s end product accepted.  Scholars must also consider the role of publishing

in their career advancement, from meeting tenure requirements to being considered for merit

promotion.  The value of various publishing venues is discipline‐specific, which can be confusing in an

ever‐growing interdisciplinary world.  Additionally, academic scholars have had to rely on traditional

impact factors (citation counts) of various journals as indicators of how likely their research would be

taken forward and cited in subsequent research.   

To add to the confusion, the world of scholarly publishing is undergoing significant upheaval.  Cassella

and Calvi (2009) identified a large set of ’disruptive forces’ impacting scholarly publishing: technological,

economic, distributional, geographic, interdisciplinary, social forces, and above all, the critical mass of

open access content.”  The Open Access (OA) movement specifically has been made possible by

developing technologies that allow for digital delivery of documents.  Peter Suber provided a

comprehensive definition: “Open‐access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most

copyright and licensing restrictions.   What makes it possible is the internet and the consent of the

author or copyright‐holder. “ (Cornwell & Suber, 2008)

While providing free access to scholarship, some aspects of publishing in OA journals have proven

challenging to scholars, while other aspects of OA journals provide compelling incentives as publishing

venues.  Librarians act on behalf of scholars; but in addition to assisting with resources, librarians can

also provide information and eye‐opening insights regarding the changing landscape of scholarly

publishing.

2The Advent of Scholarly Publishing

Scholarly publishing officially began in 1665 when the first issue of Philosophical Transactions from the

Royal Society of London was printed.  This journal holds the distinction of being the world’s oldest

scientific journal in continuous publication.  The function of this landmark journal, as well as the whole

of academic publishing, in fact, continues to be to inform interested readers of the latest scientific

discoveries and researched scholarly thought.  The early principles of how research was to be

disseminated and the concept of peer review were established by this journal; therefore, they have a

long heritage worthy of respect. (“Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London ‐ About,”

2009)   

Although the first OA journals came onto the scene as early as 1987, a significant struggle for acceptance

by academic scholars has been underway.  (Kiernan, 2000; Sweeney, 2001)  OA journals have not yet

been fully embraced as a means through which researchers can disseminate their findings as well as

receive recognition for tenure and promotion.  The struggle has been focused on two important

elements of scholarly publishing: peer review and journal impact, both of which are also experiencing

significant change.

Peer Review

Scholars around the world have long considered the presence of a rigorous peer review process to be an

essential factor in journal quality and importance.  Review by peers confirms that a) the research

methods employed are appropriate to the project and are properly controlled, and b) conclusions made

by the researcher are soundly supported by the actual research conducted.  The presence of a peer

review/referee policy sets the stage to define a journal’s quality and reliability.    

Electronic publishing of scholarly journals preceded the OA movement.  Opinions on electronic

publishing were at best neutral and in many cases negative as compared to print publications in the late

31990s. (Speier, Palmer, Wren, & Hahn, 1999)  The report noted that “faculty respondents did not

perceive the electronic journals to be of as high quality as their paper counterparts.”  (p. 541) Responses

in this survey were, however, significantly more favorable towards established, well‐respected print

journals that had evolved to include an electronic format.  Thus, it is clear that the opinion of electronic

journals at that time was based on the perceived quality of the journal itself rather than the digital

format per se.  The role of publishing in peer reviewed/refereed publications to the tenure, promotion,

and merit review process was given the highest importance by survey respondents (p. 541).   

While established scholarly journals expanded their publications to include the digital realm as an

additional access point for print and database subscription holders, the OA movement ushered in a bevy

of journals which were published exclusively online and digital and were openly available without

subscription.  Due to the newness of OA journal publishing, it was often unclear whether these online,

freely available journals were peer reviewed or refereed.  Additionally, the peer review process opened

up to a variety of models.

Open Access and Peer Review

In 2003 the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) was launched by Lund University with funding

from the Open Society Institute (OSI) and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition

(SPARC) to “increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific journals, therefore promoting

their increased usage and impact.” (“Directory of Open Access Journals ‐ About,” 2009)  DOAJ was

implemented in two phases: the directory itself and then a comprehensive search system for article‐

level content discovery.  At launch DOAJ contained information on 350 OA journals and defined them as

quality controlled scientific and scholarly electronic journals that are freely available on the web.”

(“Directory of Open Access Journals ‐ About,” 2009)  By May 2006 DOAJ titles passed the 2,000 mark

(“DOAJ Titles — Pass 2,000,” 2006), and recently it was announced that DOAJ now includes 4,000

journals. (Bjornshauge & Johansson, 2009)   

4Given the neutral‐to‐negative perception of digital content mentioned previously, it is not surprising,

however, that scholars might miss the fact that from the start DOAJ saw their mission as representing

only quality controlled electronic journals.  But what does ‘quality controlled’ mean in the digital world?  

Are OA journals peer reviewed or refereed?   To determine whether DOAJ’s expressed ‘quality control’

could be easily ascertained journal by journal, I conducted a review of DOAJ titles by academic discipline

(see Appendix).  Data was obtained by visiting each journal’s website to locate information regarding a

peer review process.  Due to my own personal language barriers, only journal websites which had such

information presented in English were included in the statistics.  A review of the data shows that the

extent to which the OA journals post peer review process and policy information varies by discipline, but

overall approximately 70% of them do so, thus validating DOAJ’s claim to representing quality controlled

OA journals.   

Over time DOAJ has become a standard for libraries wishing to provide access to OA journals accessible

on the open internet due to its phenomenal growth.  Many academic libraries program DOAJ into their

link resolvers so that researchers have access to articles published in these OA journals alongside articles

published in established print journals indexed by subscription databases.  Providing access to OA

journal articles in this manner not only serves as endorsement of their scholarly value, but also acts as

promotion of their existence.  Librarians could go a step further by encouraging scholars to consider

publishing in the OA venue.

With peer review being such a significant concern for academics wishing to publish, it seems warranted

that all OA journals clearly post the policies and processes which make them ‘quality controlled,’

including a description of what type of peer review process is used.  Hodgkinson (2007) outlined various

types of open review in practice:

∙ Traditional – before publishing, by expert

5∙ Open – before publishing, by expert, reviews available for readers; after publishing, comments by

readers allowed (i.e., BMJ)

∙ Open and permissive – before publishing, at least three reviews (whether positive or negative) of

editorial board members, reviews available for readers; after publishing, comments by readers

allowed (i.e., Biology Direct)

∙ Community – manuscript is public while discussed by community (and reviewed by invited

reviewers), afterwards the final version is published (i.e., Journal of Interactive Media in Education,

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics)

∙ Permissive, post‐publication commentary – minimal criteria for acceptance of paper; after

publication scientific community comments and annotates articles (i.e., PloS ONE)

∙ No peer review, post‐publication commentary (i.e., Nature Proceedings, Philica)

Given the vast disparity in control and review methods indicated by these policies, it becomes even

more important for OA journals to specify how submitted materials are reviewed and juried.  

Hodgkinson further stated, “I think that if there is doubt in the integrity of peer review (and there is

more and more doubt), this increases the imperative for exposing pre‐publication review processes.”  It

may at times be valid for scholars to question whether publishing in OA journals will represent their

authority and the importance of their research to their peers and administrators, but this need not be

the case if pre‐publication information is comprehensive and available.   

Impact Factor

Researchers have long hoped that their findings would have an effect on both current and future

intellectual inquiry.  The effect or ‘impact’ they seek is measured by the degree to which their work is

seen, read, used, built‐upon, cited, and applied by other researchers in the discipline.  (Harnad, 2003, p.

139)  A number of proprietary international indexes (i.e., ISI Web of Science) have evolved to report the

impact of individual academic journals.  These indexing organizations have developed citation tracking

algorithms to calculate the ‘impact factor’ of various journals based on the number of times articles

published therein are cited in subsequent published literature.  The impact factor of a journal as a whole

6will determine its prestige in comparison with other journals in the discipline, and thus a hierarchy is

created based on desirability for researchers’ submission of work.  Additionally, it should be noted that

the proprietary impact factor indexes are discipline‐specific and are generally not available without paid

subscription, thus adding to the mystery of scholarly publishing.

The proprietary indexes register and calculate citations for a rolling two year period after initial article

publication; thus new journals, regardless of format, are inherently handicapped.  This has made it

extremely difficult for new journals, whether digital or print, to enter the high‐stakes game of publishing

important research by eminent academics.  Since OA journals were all inherently new on the scholarly

publishing scene early in the game, this more severely affected their ability to compete and become

accepted by scholars based on traditional impact factors.  

 

In regard to the impact factor of new OA journals, it is interesting to note that entire editorial boards of

print journals resigned and established OA journals in protest against high prices and limited online

access policies.  Suber (2008) compiled a list of journal declarations of independence which began as

early as 1989, and SPARC published “Declaring Independence” in 2001 to offer information and

assistance to scientists wishing to exercise control of their journals.  One would think that these

experienced editorial boards would guarantee the high quality of any newly established OA journals

immediately, but I’m unsure whether this was indeed the case.   

New ways of looking at the research impact of OA journals have been and continue to be explored.

(Armbruster, 2009; Banks & Dellavalle, 2008; Harnad & Brody, 2004; Saxby, Creaser, Nicholas,

Huntington, & Jamali, 2006) Lawrence (2001) presented the first major findings regarding the increased

impact effect of online journal articles (not specifically OA journals), and Harnad (2003) clearly explained

that the true research impact of open access was vastly superior to that of the classic impact for print

journals.  Understanding that new research builds on existing research, as indeed all creative works build

7on the past, the level of access to research is important in calculating the impact it can have.  Harnad

contended that the limited access of subscription‐based print journals caused limited research impact.  

The complete cycle for print publications takes 12 to 18 months, not counting the length of time actually

conducting research.  Along with costly subscription requirements, the research‐to‐publication cycle

plays a part in limiting the research impact of print journals.  Unlimited access, Harnad further stated,

leads to greater research impact.  Compared to print journals, electronic and OA journals have a much

shorter research‐to‐publication cycle, thus making findings available more quickly in addition to being

freely available without costly subscription.  Several studies reviewed by Harnad in 2003 indicated that

for equivalent articles available by open‐access (including self‐archiving in OA repositories) compared to

subscription access, the impact was increased on average 336%.  More recently Bhat (2009) looked at

the influence of peer review on citations in the OA environment and found that refereed articles were

cited twice as often as (non‐refereed) working papers.   

An excellent resource for following the impact factors of scholarly publications in the sciences is

maintained by The Open Citation Project located at http://opcit.eprints.org. (“The effect of open access

and downloads (‘hits’) on citation impact: a bibliography of studies,” 2009)  Another excellent resource

on impact factors is Eigenfactor.org.  In addition to covering both natural and social sciences, thus being

more interdisciplinary, Eigenfactor metrics take into account the entire network of scholarly publishing

by weighing not only the number of citations but also where they come from (i.e., being cited in a

prominent journal carries more weight than being cited in a less prominent journal). (“Eigenfactor.org ‐ 

Ranking and mapping scientific journals,” 2009) These resources should be promoted to faculty by

academic libraries to open the eyes of scholars regarding the growing access to new and improved

impact factors for journals, including OA journals.   

8Academic Tenure and Promotion

Academic tenure, promotion, and merit policies include an analysis of research, publication, and

presentation as important indicators of faculty activity beyond course development and classroom

instruction.  In the past, educational institutions, especially research‐based universities, have looked at

which specific journals a scholar has been published in to determine merit.  Over the years this practice

has caused scholars to carefully select the journals to which they submit, often ruling out OA journals

due to a perception of lesser quality which could negatively impact their bid for tenure or academic

promotion.

Webber (2005) stated that “It was obvious to me that the universities’ review procedures for tenure and

promotion, or at least committee members’ perceptions of the review procedures, were created during

an era when print journals were the primary publication venue for refereed articles.”  (p. 8)  Since

electronic journals are forcing a reconceptualization of academic publishing, it may be time to

determine exactly what aspects of traditional print publishing continue to warrant consideration for

tenure and promotion, and then balance those aspects with the new possibilities inherent in digital

publishing.  Options available in electronic publications may allow for manuscripts to move beyond text

to utilize more dynamic communication tools such as sound, video, and animation; hence increasing

their value.  Webber proposed a framework for assessing electronic journals and print journals that

takes into account an article’s level of academic quality together with its projected level of impact. (p. 9)  

More recently Mercieca and Macauley (2008) stated that “academic promotion processes may be in

conflict with increasing support for open access modes of publication,” noting that promotion, tenure

and funding allocations are often linked to publication in a few, leading, refereed journals. (p. 244)  In an

effort to expand the scope of academic publication, the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)

initiative drafted a list of 19,533 peer reviewed journals with four tiers of quality rankings based on how

each compares with other journals instead of its relevance or importance in a particular discipline. (p.

9245) OA journals were not fully represented in the ERA list, but further work is being done to increase

the number of OA journals on the list due to new understandings of the research impact of open access

articles.

As stated earlier, journal impact factors have been used to identify whether a scholar has published in a

prestigious venue, and this ranking can affect committee decisions on granting tenure and/or

promotion.  Banks and Dellavalle (2008) identified emerging alternatives to the traditional impact factor

which could be used as new measures of scholarly merit for tenure and promotion.  These alternatives

can be applied to OA journals as well as traditional print publications, thus leveling the playing field for

OA journals.

A growing number of major universities have committed to supporting OA publishing – the worldwide

tally of Open Access mandatory policies reaching 100 with the University of Salford (UK) announcement

in October 2009. (“100th Open Access Mandate Reached!,” 2009)   Additionally five major US

universities have signed a compact to give institutional support for OA journals by underwriting journal

processing fees. (Hadro, 2009)  With the growth in administrative support for digital publishing, there is

no doubt that scholars will take another look at the emerging OA venue.  However, additional work is

being done by the Modern Language Association to encourage tenure committees to be more open to

scholarship that differs from the traditional norms. (Jaschik, 2009)  Rutgers and other universities are

beginning to rewrite their academic promotion policies to include equal weight to electronic publication

(“Academic Reappointments/Promotions,” 2009), which gives indication that eyes are beginning to be

opened to the new role of electronic scholarship.

10Conclusion

The perception of OA journals by scholars and academic institutions has developed into a growing,

although still early and hesitant, acceptance. Librarians can play a crucial role in opening eyes to the

expanding horizons publishing in Open Access journals can offer scholars.  Educational efforts can

include announcing the new and exciting advances in direct access to OA journal articles through library

subscription database searches, providing information on peer review policies and the resulting quality

control of OA journals, linking to emerging metrics for impact factors that take into consideration how

increased access improves research impact, and encouraging new directions in administrative support

for the free flow of information via OA repositories and electronic publishing which will surely affect

tenure and promotion committee attitudes towards digital scholarship.  

   

11Appendix 

Selected subjects:

Info in

English %

Peer‐Review

Policies Posted %

Arts (31 journals) 22 71.0% 20 90.9%

       Performing Arts (17 journals) 15 88.2% 7 46.7%

       Visual Arts (7 journals) 4 57.1% 3 75.0%

Business and Management (93 journals) 70 75.3% 38 54.3%

General Works

       Multidisciplinary (57 journals) 41 71.9% 34 82.9%

Health Sciences

       Nursing (28 journals) 12 42.9% 11 91.7%

       Public Health (127 journals) 98 77.2% 69 70.4%

History and Archaeology

       Archaeology (22 journals) 14 63.6% 5 35.7%

       History (127 journals) 60 47.2% 40 66.7%

Languages and Literatures

       Languages and Literatures (158 journals) 80 50.6% 53 66.3%

       Linguistics (115 journals) 70 60.9% 42 60.0%

Mathematics (139 journals) 128 92.1% 90 70.3%

Political Science (116 journals) 77 66.4% 47 61.0%

Sciences

        Genetics (34 journals) 33 97.1% 27 81.8%

        Microbiology (35 journals) 30 85.7% 22 73.3%

        Physiology (28 journals) 28 100.0% 23 82.1%

        Biochemistry (34 journals) 28 82.4% 21 75.0%

        Biotechnology (27 journals) 24 88.9% 20 83.3%

        Chemistry (General) (70 journals) 59 84.3% 34 57.6%

        Environmental Sciences (77 journals) 58 75.3% 46 79.3%

Social Sciences

       Education (299 journals) 182 60.9% 147 80.8%

       Library and Information Science (96 journals) 40 41.7% 31 77.5%

       Psychology (106 journals) 58 54.7% 43 74.1%

       Sociology (76 journals) 39 51.3% 27 69.2%

1270 900 70.9%

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The open access movement or “edemocracy”: its birth, rise, problems and solutions

Ibérica 24 (2012): 9-28

ISSN 1139-7241

Abstract

We start with a definition of the open access (OA) movement and the reason for

its birth – that is, the 1980’s serials’ crisis. We then present and explain the two

main OA roads (the Gold OA and the Green OA roads) as well as the target of

the OA movement. Key concepts related to the OA movement are also

explained, such as “institutional repository”, “self-archiving”, “institutional

mandate” and “directory of OA journals”. We also examine the rise and the

benefits of the OA movement and give suggestions as to what universities,

university students and researchers worldwide could do to promote the OA

movement and make science truly accessible to all.

Keywords: open access, scientific research, democracy, institutional

repository, mandate.

Resumen

El movimiento de acceso abierto o la “e-democracia”: nacimiento,

crecimiento, problemas y soluciones

Empezamos con una definición del movimiento “acceso abierto” (AA) y la

razón por la cual nació. Luego, presentamos y explicamos en qué consisten las

dos principales vías del AA (la vía dorada y la vía verde) así como el objetivo de

dicho movimiento. Conceptos claves, tales como “repositorio institucional”,

“auto-archivo” y “mandato institucional”, “directorio de revistas en AA”.

También examinamos el crecimiento y los beneficios del movimiento AA, y

damos sugerencias para que las universidades, los estudiantes universitarios y los

investigadores ayuden a promover el movimiento AA y hacer que la ciencia sea

verdaderamente universal.

The open access movement or

“edemocracy”

1

: its birth, rise, problems

and solutions

2

Françoise Salager-Meyer

Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela)

Francoise.sm@gmail.com

9Ibérica 24 (2012): 9-28

FRANçOISE SALAGER-MEyER

Palabras clave: acceso abierto, investigación científica, democracia,

repositorio institucional, mandato.

1. Preamble

The idea of creating a Spanish Association of Languages for Specific

Purposes (AELFE) (the name was later changed to “European” Association

but the acronym rema