A digital public good can be

  • Open Software: Products and services typically in the form of websites and applications that offer a user interface through which the public good is provided to the user. Extensible to software libraries, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and other pieces of software that are designed as modular components to more complex programs.
  • Open Data and Content: Information or knowledge that is either easily understood directly by people or coded into a form that is efficient for movement or processing.
  • Open Standards: Compendia of norms, laws, specifications and reference implementations.

The Digital Public Goods Alliance will be guided by the Principles for Digital Development when assessing nominees for inclusion on the digital public goods platform. The Principles are nine living guidelines designed to help digital development practitioners integrate established best practices into technology-enabled programs. 

Assessment of nominees for digital public goods will take place in the following stages:

Digital Public Good selection process

Stage 1

The nomination process is open to the general public for any digital good that fulfills the minimum criteria of open source software, open data or open standards. Anyone can submit a nomination for a digital public good through this public repository.

Stage 2

The initial assessment of a nominee is done against the following general minimum criteria: 

  • Facilitate vendor-independence, reusability, interoperability, adaptability and distribution
    • Use open standards
    • For Software, use open software licenses from the OSI list, preferably one of the widely used licenses 
    • For Content, use one of the Creative Commons licenses which allow for both derivatives and commercial reuse: CC BY or CC BY-SA 
    • For Data, use open data licenses that are compliant with one of the Creative Commons licenses linked to above
  • For products and services that handle user data: Address Privacy and Security
  • For products and services with user interfaces: Ensure accessibility

The first part of this assessment will consist of an automated screening against the most standardized parameters above, such as whether or not one of the approved open licenses is used. This will lead some nominees to be rejected automatically. Those passing the automated screening will then undergo a manual expert review of the nominees against general minimum criteria.

The digital public goods nominees that pass this review, will be included on the platform as digital public goods candidates. Those that do not pass will be informed and, as deemed relevant, receive brief feedback related to improvement areas.

Stage 3

Expert teams within relevant communities of practice will conduct sector or domain specific assessments particularly related to quality assurance standards and processes. The expert teams will be guided by the Principles for Digital Development and by more sector specific criteria where such exist. The expert teams are diverse in gender and geographic representation, and have sector specific expertise for quality assurance. 

Initially, communities of practise are being established related to the following areas:

  • Financial inclusion, with an initial emphasis on digital payment systems and digital identity systems. 
  • Foundational skills, with an initial emphasis on reading literacy and digital literacy tools.
  • Digital and job skills, with an initial emphasis on remote work, remedial vocational education, portable certification, and job matching. 
  • Climate change adaptation, to ensure food and income, with an initial emphasis on providing farmers with tools for proactive climate smart agriculture (CSA) advice to reduce the negative effects of climate change and pests. 
  • Health service delivery, with an initial emphasis on health information systems strengthening and tools for improving maternal and child health.
  • Digital public goods building blocks, with an initial emphasis on open software with a particular potential to accelerate impact of other digital public goods or across many sectors.

The digital public goods candidates that pass this review are included at the core of the platform as digital public goods. Those that do not pass the review will receive brief feedback related to improvement areas, and either remain digital public goods candidates or be removed from the platform depending on the improvement areas identified.

Note that the criteria and the assessment process for Digital Public Goods are likely to evolve over time as the Digital Public Goods initiative progresses and with advances in technology. The current approach has been developed by the initiating partners based on the report of the  UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation,  the Digital Public Goods  Alliance members’ expertise and experience; and extensive meetings and conversations with external experts within different communities of practice.If you have questions or comments to the criteria and assessment process, please use this form to share them with the Digital Public Goods Alliance.