Indigenous Data Network – Community Data Project (2021-2024)

Project Details

The project aims to strengthen Indigenous data ecosystems in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations to increase their technical, institutional, social, and economic data capacity and improve access to regionally disaggregated data. This aligns with Priority Reform Four of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (CTG): Sharing data and information with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have more power to determine their own development. The evidence built by this project will aim to fill major knowledge gaps, inform policy development and enhance Indigenous data ecosystems in Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, including their ability to access, use and share community level disaggregated data from many sources.

Using co-designed, mixed-methods the project aims to map the data ecosystems of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations in three case study sites (urban, regional and remote) across Australia to better understand the key enablers and barriers to their advancement. Using participatory action research methods, the project will collaborate with participating organisations to support their access, collection and use of data about their communities to plan and self-determine their own development.

Another key element of the participatory action research processes will include negotiations with data custodians (state/territory and Commonwealth agencies) to progress long-term data sharing solutions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisations. As when communities can access, generate, and use their own data, they are more likely to be better placed to understand and interpret the results.

The target associated with Priority Reform Four is to: Increase the number of regional data projects to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to make decisions about Closing the Gap and their Development. The outcome is: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to, and the capability to use, locally-relevant data and information to set and monitor the implementation of efforts to close the gap, their priorities and drive their own development. This project supports the achievement of both the Priority Reform 4 target and outcome. The Project supports the Government’s commitment to share available, disaggregated regional data, establish partnerships between government custodians of data and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, make data more transparent, and build data capacity within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

The project will have a focus on strengthening Indigenous data ecosystems in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations. The project also aligns with the four specific data and information sharing elements that set out the expectations of the Priority Reform 4, including:

(a) Partnerships are in place to guide the improved collection, access, management and use of data to inform shared decision-making.

(b) Governments provide communities and organisations with access to the same data and information they use to make decisions.

(c) Governments collect, handle and report data at sufficient levels of disaggregation, and in an accessible and timely way.

(d) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations are supported by governments to build capability and expertise in collecting, using, and interpreting data in a meaningful way.

Using mixed-methods, the project will collect and employ multi-jurisdictional qualitative and quantitative research methods at the three case studies sites, working collaboratively with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled Partner Organisations. The primary research methods are:

(i) Indigenous data ecosystems mapping:

  • Ethnographic & social science research methods
  • Archival research

(ii) Participatory Action Research:

  • Data access and agreement making
  • Software development research
  • Geospatial mapping
  • Data linkage and descriptive epidemiology
  • Data capacity building training

The participatory action research methods will be individually tailored for each participating organisation as the research progresses.

Researchers

Professor Marcia Langton
Dr Kristen Smith
Dr Vanessa Russ
Dr Len Smith
Dr Kalinda Griffiths, UNSW
Dr Odette Pearson, SAHMRI

Funding

National Indigenous Australians Agency