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Our World in Data (OWID) is a scientific online publication that focuses on large global problems such as poverty, disease, hunger, climate change, war, existential risks, and inequality. It is a project of the Global Change Data Lab, a registered charity in England and Wales, and founded by Max Roser, a social historian and development economist. The research team is based at the University of Oxford.
|Publisher||Global Change Data Lab|
The web publication uses interactive charts and maps to illustrate research findings often taking a long-term view to show how global living conditions have changed over time. Our World in Data's mission is to publish “research and data to make progress against the world’s largest problems”.
2011 to 2019Edit
Roser began his work on the project in 2011, adding a research team at the University of Oxford later on. In the first years Roser developed the publication together with inequality researcher Sir Tony Atkinson.
In 2019, Tyler Cowen and Patrick Collison called for a new academic discipline of 'Progress Studies' that institutionalizes the mission of Our World in Data and Collison published a permanent recommendation to join the team of Our World in Data.
In 2019, Our World in Data won the Lovie Award, the European web award, "in recognition of their outstanding use of data and the internet to supply the general public with understandable data-driven research – the kind necessary to invoke social, economic, and environmental change."
2020 to presentEdit
In 2020, Our World in Data became one of the leading organizations publishing global data and research on the COVID-19 pandemic.[non-primary source needed] Tim Harford wrote that during the pandemic Our World in Data "performed heroic efforts in assembling clear, usable information from a messy patchwork of primary sources."
The website's visibility largely increased compared to the pre-COVID period. The organization began the pandemic with 6 staff, and grew to 20 by late 2021. Edouard Mathieu joined in early 2020 and became Head of Data.
They created and maintained the worldwide database on testing for COVID-19 which was used by the United Nations, the White House, the World Health Organization and epidemiologists and researchers. Their COVID-19 testing database was published in Scientific Data.
In 2021 Our World in Data created and maintained the worldwide database on vaccinations for COVID-19. Their COVID-19 vaccination database was also published in Nature Human Behaviour. It was used by the World Health Organization, The New York Times, and the Financial Times in their data portals.
Collaborations and partnershipsEdit
The first grant to support the research project was given by the Nuffield Foundation, a London-based foundation focused on social policy. The publication has received funding from grants from the Centre for Effective Altruism, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom and the Nuffield Foundation as well as from individual donations. The Nuffield Foundation supported as part of their 'Data for the public good' portfolio.
The non-profit Global Change Data Lab publishes the website and the open-access data tools that make the online publication possible. The research team is based at the University of Oxford's Oxford Martin School. Director is the founder Max Roser.
In the coronavirus pandemic, the team partnered with epidemiologists from Harvard's Chan School of Public Health and the Robert Koch Institute to study countries that have responded successfully in the early phase of the pandemic. Oxford professors Janine Aron and John Muellbauer worked with OWID to research the excess mortality during the pandemic.
Our World in Data is cited in academic scientific journals, medicine and global health journals, and social science journals. The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Economist have used Our World in Data as a source.
Tina Rosenberg emphasized in The New York Times that Our World in Data presents a "big picture that's an important counterpoint to the constant barrage of negative world news". Steven Pinker placed Roser's Our World in Data on his list of his personal "cultural highlights" and explained in his article on 'the most interesting recent scientific news' why he considers Our World in Data so very important.
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