"We cover a wide range of topics across many academic disciplines: trends in health, food provision, the growth and distribution of incomes, violence, rights, wars, culture, energy use, education, and environmental changes are empirically analyzed and visualized in this web publication." (Our World in Data)

Data on the Changing World

Quality data shouldn’t be difficult to find, but datasets are sometimes locked behind paywalls or hidden away on university websites that haven't been updated since the 1990s. Our World in Data is an online publication dedicated to highlighting available data and showing changes happening in the world. Using datasets and visualizations, the site publishes on a range of topics like economics, violence, and human rights.

Our World in Data features interactive visualizations that can be easily read and understood by novices. Every dataset used on the site can be easily downloaded for more advanced analysis, too. For instance, a recent post offered a beautiful interactive chart that shows Global Development Health Assistance (DAH) over time, made from data available from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

The site also hosts blog posts covering broad themes that introduce several data visualizations and sources. There is even a special section for the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, which utilizes data from UN agencies. The site breaks down each goal, providing explanations and illustrations for the progress made in these areas.

Open Source and Access

All data and visualizations can be downloaded, used, and adapted freely for any purpose under creative commons. A lot of the data is already publicly available through other organizations, and Our World in Data includes guides for where to find this kind of information. It is also very simple to search and download data on their website. Datasets come in the standard and flexible CSV format. Plus, all of the code that the site uses is open-sourced and can also be downloaded through GitHub.

Our World in Data was founded by Max Roser and is hosted under the Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development at the University of Oxford. The initiative is part of the larger open access movement. What the site produces is considered to be a public good and the organizers encourage everyone to make use of whatever they find helpful.

Image: Distribution of people between different poverty thresholds, World, via Our World in Data