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

research links w 9-17



All the reports:
A @datasociety report finds low trust in media among US youth, who often find news by accident, and demonstrate a variety of innovative verification strategies. Meanwhile, a University of London report finds that whistleblowing is more dangerous in the digital age and a new OECD report finds that the resurgence of single bidding significantly increases risks of corruption in European procurement. Take note #opencontracting strategists. Perhaps most happily, new research described in @SSIReview suggests that funders do use knowledge! In fact they get it primarily from peers and grantees, but it’s not enough to provoke change.

Participation and democracy:
Participatory budgeting in Cambridge (US) has given voters the impression of impact and has increased political participation among youth, but has failed to reach marginalized communities, according to evaluative research using both quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews. Similarly, there’s more evidence that e-voting increases electoral participation, by 8.2% according to a online surveys (n=124,211, 18%) conducted in a Brazilian province. This in an updated paper from @participatory and co, which also notes high representation of new voters and the “socioeconomically privileged.” Elsewhere in Brazil, research on 5,550 municipalities suggests that democracy improves well being (or at least infant mortality), but elections are not enough.  You also need “participatory institutions, social programs, and local state capacity.” In any case, it seems exposing people to political media increases their political participation, and this is especially true for groups that traditionally report less. This according to research and evaluations publish in connection with a BBC Panel on the media’s role in government accountability. @fp2p has an excellent summary of all the moving parts.

All the Advices:
ODI interviewed data portal owners across Europe to produce a report with recommendations on portal sustainability, and Berkman’s Open Data Privacy Playbook offers guidance and recommendations for Cities. There’s a massive new Handbook on Big Data tech and two new volumes offer practical guidance on managing digital research data. Oxfam research on NGO and ICTs in the Horn, East and Central Africa offers 8 lessons and 3 recommendations to NGOs (summarized by the author here).

Lastly, it seems social media are changing how and when the world talks to itself. A new paper in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface tracks synchronicity in Twitter use across cities, finding a consistent “heartbeat patter”, and signs of alignment in one half of the world, illustrated by the fact that “Europe’s morning peak of Twitter activity coincides with Asia’s large peak of afternoon activity.”


In the Methodological Weeds

Tom Murphy blogs on progressing in measuring stuff with satellites.

Academic Opps

FemTechNet Network Gathering at the AMC2017 (June 15-19, Detroit)


Calls for Papers

Miscellanea & Absurdum

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