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

research links w 12- 17



Politically marginalized groups have less access to the internet, worldwide. This shocker based on network measurements over 8 years and identification of politically relevant groups as defined by the Ethnic Power Relations (EPR).

The relationship between online and offline activism is messy, according to a survey of 1023 adolescents from five Balkan countries, while a year-long study in Uganda and Kenya documents ways that citizen-generated data can be used to improve service delivery and policy, but finds that relationships matter, and that measurement is hard.

Why governments implement e-participation: Governments are most willing to implement e-participation schemes when they enjoy strong ICT infrastructure and human capital, according to a review of archival data from 153 countries (pulled from UN E-Gov surveys and the World Bank’s Development and Governance Indicator sets from 2010-2012). Most interestingly, quality of governance did not positively correlate with willingness to implement e-participation, and the authors suggest that advocates should accordingly push for better ICT infrastructure and human resources, “to move up the ladder of e-government maturity.” Also worth noting, willingness to conduct e-consultations was the only form of willingness negatively associated with e-government maturity. On this last point, the authors speculate is because governments are afraid that consultative processes will slow down e-government processes.


@EngnRoom is researching the digital security support community, and they’re looking for people to talk to. Meanwhile, the LSE blog has a great post on how to balance researcher and activist roles when working with vulnerable communities. #responsibledata

Research on three countries’ use of development data identifies 9 common barriers to getting data used in development decision-making, and suggests corresponding strategies, and ‘s Global Open Data Index just threw up all their management tasks and timelines on Git.

Atlassian’s 2017 State of Diversity Report shows that the US tech community thinks it’s a lot more diverse than it actually is. And here’s a blogpost encouraging tech start ups to make a buck on civic tech and open government. Because money.

In the Methodological Weeds

Next in the series of lying visualization, @data_ctive proposes a participatory method for checking the assumptions in network visualization. Requires footwork, builds connections.

Can you use social media data to demonstrate the social impact of research? A trio of European researchers argue that you can, with a focus on interactions in altmetric data.

Seeing Theory: a visual introduction to basic statistical concepts. So good.

New report sketches a roadmap to bring US federal statistical system up to date in combining novel data sources.

Academic Opps

Hewlett Foundation is contracting a research consultancy to take stock of participatory budgeting. Individual or team, max(ish) 6000 hours, in-depth (state of play in research, project design, institutionalization and advocacy). They’re asking all the right questions.

Not quite academic: @EngnRoom ‏ @EngnRoom is offering to help ppl with applications to the Google Digital News Initiative (DNI)

Predictive-policing startup CivicScape has opened up its algorithm and data to scrutiny. Dig in.



Calls for Papers:

Miscellanea & Absurdum

Pink Trombone: I. Can’t. Even.

Google’s ‘Protect Your Election’–Exporting Cloud Security To Government (headline from Forbes)

Spanish Labs: @jkeaneSDN argues that Spain is a kind of democratic laboratory, showing the rest of the world how tech and innovation can help democracies break out of their political rut.

Factory worker killed by rogue robot, says widowed husband in lawsuit (headline,

Digitizing Early Childhood International Conference

Algorithm for alphabetizing your bookshelf

5 tips for academics on dealing with robots.

“Space Oddity – a visual deconstruction, AKA Oddityviz, is a data visualisation project on David Bowie’s Space Oddity”

Trolling Scholars Debunk the Idea That the Alt-Right’s Shitposters Have Magic Powers (headline from Motherboard)

MeCCSA Special Issue: Ageing in a Networking Society

Add Comment

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