More 5-Star Institutions - Momentum Towards Transparency Continues

Next to the 150+ institutions that Transparify rates every year, we have heard from additional policy research and advocacy organizations that are committed to transparency. These organizations either already were fully transparent about their funding, or engaged with us to update their disclosure.

We are glad to highlight the 5-star transparency of these five organizations. They set a great example for other institutions:

Please join us in congratulating these organizations on their 5-star transparency. We are glad to see that the momentum towards more transparency continues. The spread of countries – Bosnia, Canada, Georgia, United States – shows that this move towards more transparency has a global dimension.

If current trends continue, transparency will indeed soon be the norm for all quality think tanks and policy advocacy organizations. This is why it is so valuable that more organizations commit to 5-star transparency. Why is this transparency important? See what institutions themselves have to say on this issue.

Do you want to find out how to get 5-star transparency? Check here how to become fully transparent

Why Transparency Matters: the Think Tanks’ Perspective

[a previous version of this post appeared On Think Tanks]

Transparency sometimes can appear like a hard thing to do. Making information available can be an extra effort. Transparency may also invite additional scrutiny. It’s thus not obvious that institutions always welcome disclosure.

Yet Transparify’s experience over the past two years suggests otherwise. Many think tanks welcomed our work. They were enthusiastic about becoming more transparent. Several dozen think tanks engaged, increasing their disclosure, as our 2015 report highlights.

Why? Ask the think tankers themselves – they make a very powerful case in favor of transparency. Here is an overview of their contributions to our blog. 

One common theme across many of these contributions is that transparency is part of research excellence – it communicates confidence in the integrity of one’s findings. In that way, transparency contributes to an open and constructive debate.

This, too, is a reason why we think that transparency should be the default for policy research and advocacy. We hope that more think tanks will join to help set the standard. We believe journalists should routinely ask think tanks and policy experts how they are funded, and highlight when funding sources remain opaque. Also, we think that donors should nudge their grantees to become more transparent. Funding transparency by itself is not a guarantee of integrity, but it is one of the best starting points for a broader debate.

If you want to share your perspective on the importance of transparency, we would very much welcome your contribution to our blog or, as an additional step, you could connect to this theme through On Think Tanks itself.  

Interested in how to increase your transparency? Go here to find out how to get 5-star transparency

Five Stars for our Fellow Transparency Advocates

How transparent are transparency advocates about their own funding? Are pro-accountability advocacy groups setting a good example for governments, businesses and others to follow?

In order to answer this question, Transparify recently looked at the websites of 15 NGOs focused on transparency and accountability issues, applying the same rating methodology that we apply to think tanks. We then contacted each organization with its score and invited it to comment and, if applicable, put more data online.

We are happy to report that some transparency groups were already 5-star transparent when we visited their websites. Many others welcomed our initiative and said that they plan to update their websites soon.

Among the most enthusiastic organization of those we contacted was Global Integrity, which champions transparent and accountable government around the world by producing innovative research and technologies that inform, connect, and empower civic, private, and public reformers seeking more open societies.

Global Integrity immediately went to work on their website and produced a concise yet crystal clear funding page. Global Integrity now lists every donor together with the exact sum given by that donor, and the purpose of the donation, plus the time frame of related activities. In other words, Global Integrity is clearly 5-star transparent.

Corruption Watch, one of the leading anti-corruption watchdogs in sub-Saharan Africa, has also updated their website to reach 5-star transparency, by giving detailed information on its donors and projects.

Now that Global Integrity and Corruption Watch have shown how easy becoming 5-star transparent can be, we trust that many others will be keen to follow in their footsteps, and to be publicly recognized for doing so.

Transparify will publish more on transparency in the transparency sector, early next year. Right now, we are busy rating nearly 200 think tanks worldwide, and preparing to publish the results of this second round of think tank ratings in early 2015.

To keep up to date about our work with think tanks and NGOs, and to receive our next report straight into your inbox, sign up for email updates here.