Supporting the TAG

John Adams • 26 January 2016

Following the recent Steering Committee meeting where we discussed a new approach to IATI governance, we are considering how we could improve support to the TAG.

There are two areas where community support would be really useful to me (as TAG Chair) and to the IATI Technical team:

  1. Providing expert input into the evolution of the IATI Standard. This would require people with deep knowledge of the standard, evaluating and providing advice on suggested changes. We do this already through consultation process, but maybe a more formalised “expert group” would help to articulate a vision for the Standard and work through proposals in more depth and with more rigour.

  2. Community leaders driving adoption and use. We have a need to form communities of interest within IATI who will drive forward things that we care about. I see this particularly in supporting adoption and use of the data.

I’d be interested in your views on this. And if you’d like to volunteer or nominate someone who would fit into either group, then please let me know.

Comments (23)


I’ll volunteer for the communities of users side of things? On the expert group, I think it’s a great idea - I’d ask though that you aim to include technical experts who are/will be users of the data (ie not just technical experts supporting publishers) and ideally worldwide - Latin America and Africa have some amazing civic technologists.

Ben Parker

I’m a media consumer. An “infomediary”? Ugh. Anyway…

I have spent quite some time looking into the IATI data recently (thanks, BOND, for the starter course).

As you may know, IRIN specialises in reporting in humanitarian crises. Data-driven reports and visualisations are among our most popular products for the aid professional audience and the broader public too.

I ran over the 2015 data (activities starting after 1 Jan 2015), and found that 2015 disbursement transactions in which the provider and receiver were both named, and the date was actually in 2015, amounted to only about $5 billion (if my spaghetti Python is horribly at fault, I apologise in advance). My idea of network graphs and an eye-popping dataviz died a little. I can get provider and receiver for $19b from FTS. And if I wait a year, there’s OECD/CRS. Nevertheless in my own opinion, and as an editorial standpoint for IRIN, more aid finance transparency, via any and all data, is a critical priority and always worth pursuing.

I’d be happy to take part in whatever way is useful or appropriate.

Best wishes

Ben Parker

Kasper Brandt

Hi all,

As a developer on Akvo’s RSR platform, which has all IATI fields fully integrated, I would like to volunteer to help think about the evolution of the standard as well.

Thus far, I’ve only joined one of the consultation meetings on IATI v2.02, but I’ve been following IATI and working with the data for nearly three years now and would like to have a more active participation in it.

Kind regards,
Kasper Brandt

Tristan Vaessen


Currently we (Zimmerman & Zimmerman) are working on the development of a free IATI Studio community edition, which will be launched next April. The idea is to create a lively/active IATI community where custom charts and transparency micro-portals can be shared and discussed.

I would like to ‘volunteer’ for the 2nd area and discuss & create a user scenarios for example.


John Adams

Thanks everyone for contributing and volunteering to be part of these expert groups.

One of the barriers to effective use of the data is data quality and inconsistency. Does that fit naturally with the expert group on adoption and use, or should we have a separate expert group on data quality? ([~506] do you have a view?)


Data quality is not a goal in itself and fits naturally with adoption and use in my view. Even though we are only starting, it is in the attempts to start using the data that quality issues arise. Hand in glove.



I would like to join on the user side. I am currently helping multiple aid recipient governments to use IATI data.

I would also suggest that this also needs to be advertised beyond the community message board to get a wider range of voices.



Leigh Mitchell

Hi All - so it looks like we have a community forming here which is great. What should be the next step? Perhaps each person could provide a quick brief on how they are currently using IATI data, how they would like to be using IATI data, and what would need to be done to get them to that point?

Kara Whitman


I recently conducted a content analysis of the narrative documents uploaded in the Open Aid Search - which is among the websites I found through the IATI. The Open Aid Search contains IATI data and in particular, is helpful for persons with no technology or programing background.

I used the data for my dissertation, which was centered upon the Iraqi and Syrian refugee crisis. The study can help aid actors recognize the extent to which data in this context is accessible via the IATI and the degree to which it can be used to examine accountability issues in the fields of adult education and livelihoods. (You may download this paper at: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/28047/)

It is my understanding that many users are focused upon quantitative methodologies and are from a technical or programming background. This is great. However, it is also vital to promote more qualitative research and include students and researchers in the examination of narrative data. The Open Aid Search is an important platform for qualitative researchers interested in the IATI and may be vital for users like me, with backgrounds in policy analysis and comparative education.

I will gladly participate in meetings and groups to promote more qualitative research, especially in regard to current and global crises.



Kara Whitman


Galvanizing more support for IATI could involve more promotion and outreach to universities and web-based platforms to present and view IATI research.

For instance, I recently completed a qualitative study of education and livelihoods in the Iraqi and Syrian refugee crisis, based exclusively upon IATI data. However, when I first proposed the project to faculty and colleagues, most people had not yet heard of the IATI. Moreover, I could not find a section on the IATI webpage where the public could view research based upon IATI data. Additionally, the TAG group has not yet posted the date for their next meeting. Ostensibly, scholars could share some of their findings at meetings like this.

Scholarships, post-docs and consultancies could also be advertised, in order for aid actors to leverage IATI data to inform decision-making and share information between and among donor agencies, INGOs and other stakeholders. Thus, I think it is important to reach out to graduate students more often and perhaps, add sections to IATI sites and homepages where people are encouraged to use IATI data for research purposes in part, through funding opportunities.



Kara Whitman

Thank you Siem. There are lots of sites that engender data visualization and examinations of funding allocations. These are significant areas to explore. However, I’m interested in policy analysis and narrative data, so I will gladly check the site you recommended. Perhaps sites like this are useful for future research.

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