Methodical Snark critical reflections on how we measure and assess civic tech
Archive

October 2016

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  Papers / Findings Citizen engagement in rulemaking — evidence on regulatory practices in 185 countries (from the World Bank). TL;DR: opportunities for engagement are greatest in developed countries with strong regulatory systems, as are the use of ex post ante impact assessments. Paper includes an incredibly brief literature review and the study itself is based on e-questionnaires...

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Papers / Findings A special issue of the Journal of Communication Law and Policy offers five articles on the US Freedom of Information Act. The Editor’s conclusion: “The case made by all these articles is that FOIA is not doing the job that was intended, and that a major overhaul of the act is needed to ensure requisite access to government documents and activities. Access is key to a...

Gaps in Human Rights Research, Advocacy and Compliance

How human rights scholars conceal social wrongs. That’s the title of an Open Democracy article published yesterday, which takes issue with the way that international comparative indices (such as Ciri Human Rights Data Project and Freedom in the World) hide injustice in rich western democracies. Specifically, the authors are angered by the US government’s consistently high ranking...

Panel weights and voice for the voiceless (lessons from Uncle Sam’s Rock-Bottom Yankee Doodle Suicide Pact 2016)

So not even MethodicalSnark can resist the US presidential elections (as christened by John Oliver). New York Times ran a piece this week entitled How One 19-Year-Old Illinois Man Is Distorting National Polling Averages. Our Trump-supporting friend in Illinois is a surprisingly big part of the reason. In some polls, he’s weighted as much as 30 times more than the average respondent, and as much...

Book Review: The Global Impact of Open Data

The Global Impact of Open Data: Key Findings from Detailed Case Studies Around the World By Stefaan Verhulst, Andrew Young Publisher: O’Reilly Released: September 2016         O’Reilly recently released a book documenting GovLab’s case studies on open data impact around the world. Some of the key findings were presented for feedback at the IODC last week, and were...

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Papers / Findings Squeaky wheels get the grease.  Analysis of policy crowdsourcing for urban planning in California uses natural language processing to show that (1) whether or not citizen contributions are included in policy depended on their “volume and tone,” (2) that the contributing crowd was more representative of the community than elected representatives contributions, and (3)...

The Open Data Research Symposium 2016: summary and issues

Wednesday saw the second Open Data Research Symposium, convened on the sidelines of the International Open Data Conference (and this year’s IODC was a doosie, with side events and opre-events stretching across 5 days different parts of Madrid).  Here is a quick summary of the papers and working groups, followed by some hanging questions and challenges for next year’s Symposium.

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Papers and Findings Nordic Open Access to Research Data. A new research paper reiterates important conditions for effective open access, and offers 3 recommendations for Nordic research communities that take advantage of their countries’ size and position. A psychology study in Zimbabwe suggests that for political activism in repressive political contexts, psychological resilience in the...

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