Finding data is the very first step in preparing for data stories. Although there are various lists of useful sites available on the internet, not all the sites that are being suggested are necessarily user-friendly or beginner-friendly. Some require registration while other truly challenge your technical skills and (of course) some ask for money. (We believe that data should be open and free to anyone!) Before you’ve even got a single set of data, you’re already out of your depth.

Tired of having to scratch your head and clicking on a thousand pages without knowing what a site actually offers? If you’re looking for a simple list of data sites and portals, here it is – trimmed down to the essentials:



The following sites offer collections of data sets from different entities:

  • – a site where further data portals from around the world are listed, shown on a map
  • Google Public Data – a service provided by google, practically a search engine for public data
  • Natural Earth Data – offers public domain map datasets. Has been developed to create custom maps
  • Open Data Inception – over 1600 links from data portals world-wide
  • Global Open Data Index – a site that gives a comprehensive snapshot of the global state of open data. It also hosts some global opendata sets. *NEW*
  • – lists worldwide datasets on how money is being spent by governments.*NEW*




Open Data can facilitate government transparency, accountability and public participation of the government. That is why many governments have joined the initiative. Here are some examples of governments which publish some of their data:

There’s the “usual suspects”:

  • – the official US government data portal
  • – the official UK government data portal
  • GovData – the official German government data portal
  • Eurostat – European statistics, provided by the European Union

But there’s also some you might not expect right away:

In general, there is an overall movement to offer more, around the world:


International organizations are often good sources for data. Depending on your field of research, these organizations provide different kinds of first-hand information:

  • OECD Data – provide statistics from OCED countries on various topics
  • World Bank Data – provides access to data about development in countries around the globe
  • World Health Organization – provides global health data e.g. life expactancy and developments of certain diseases
  • World Trade Organization – offers data on trade flows, tariffs, non-tariff measures and trade in value added
  • UNData – data resources from the United Nations on a wide range of topics



  • Google Trends – not exactly a data portal, but a very useful tool in finding out about the popularity of anything – since the more something is “googled”, the more trending it is. Results are being displayed in charts.


*We will keep on updating this list. So feel free to give us suggestions via @YDS_EU!

About the author : Hang-Shuen Lee