Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Statistics • COVID-19 response

Publish existing data following open data guidelines


This article is also available in Russian.

Identifying existing datasets for priority dissemination is the first step to leveraging open data for action during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than focus on collecting new data, national statistical offices should locate existing useful data from traditional and non-traditional sources and publish them while adhering to open data standards to maximize access and usability. This section identifies resources to understand the state of open statistical data in a country, examples of data published by others that are critical to understanding COVID-19, and initiatives underway that use data to stop the pandemic.

Tools to understand the state of open data in your country

  • Open Data Inventory (Open Data Watch): A tool for NSOs to discover how complete and open their statistical offerings are. The Open Data Inventory also identifies key datasets and disaggregations for countries to prioritize.
  • Open Data Barometer (World Wide Web Foundation): An index focused on the readiness, implementation, and impact of open government data that includes, but is not limited to, national statistics.

Guidance to support NSOs in opening their data

Examples of useful COVID-19 open data


  • The World Health Organization (WHO) publishes in their daily situation reports the global and national tally of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
  • The Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University has a dashboard and data for download site of global cases, including presumptive cases.
  • The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) provides a daily data on the geographic distribution of COVID-19 cases worldwide in downloadable form, as well as a situation dashboard with latest surveillance data with case tallies, deaths, and maps of the spread of the virus.


  • The OECD Secretariat is calling for evidence on the release and use of Open Government Data (OGD) in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The live and open repository will reflect the different uses of data as we move through the COVID-19 outbreak.