E-government projects are more successful when formal decision-making processes include stakeholders and actively manage risk, according to a survey of Swedish national government agencies and municipalities (N=550). Meanwhile, @timdavies is coauthor on a paper in Science & Technology Studies that tracks how data standards influence bureaucratic processes for opening government data. The paper warns that standards can in some ways obstruct actual engagement with users, and puts a useful focus on people in institutions just trying to get things done.
Mixed findings on social media effects this week. Chinese participants in political discourse on Weibo experience that discourse as deliberative, despite the interactions being “mostly non-dialogical and non-creative in nature, and characterised by homophily and polarisation.” (New study, n= 417). In the US, social media played a definitive role in determining how the Tea Party negotiated it’s identity and relationship with the Republican party in the course of Trump’s rise to power. Not in the least, it allowed for quick differentiation of activist perceptions on appropriate degrees of openness, which seem to correspond with political objectives and conceptions of political efficacy. This is described by a new paper in Social Media + Society (not to be confused with New Media and Society, I recently made that mistake > facepalm), which offers a fascinating case, without clearly actionable findings.
Community & Resources
@Hewlett_Found continues to impress with their thoughtful and progressive thinking on evidence for accountability programming. They’ve called for comment on drafts of three “sub-strategies” for promoting “active citizens and accountable government.” The drafts focus on fiscal transparency, governance channels and public service monitoring, and they’re very exciting.
Oxfam is building progressive bridges too, and recently invited LSE Masters Students to analyze a bunch of case studies on adaptive programming,. There’s a draft report out for comment. Great practice, and the findings are smart too.
In other news, New Media and Society has a lit review on digital volunteers in crisis response, the LSE Research Impact Blog has more advice for academic blogging, and Erica Hagen is using a research practitioner grant from @allvoicescount to reflect on 8 years participatory mapping in Kibera, Nairobi.
- The Open Data Barometer 2017 was launched last week, and shows that expansion is stalling globally, in keeping with the general brakes on liberal democracy. @ODIHQ has a good summary, as does @freedominfoorg, who also pushes the project lead on lack of demand side metrics.
- The Africa Electricity Grids Explorer combines utility and World Bank data with Open Street Map crowdsourced data, and provides grid-level data across the continent. The Bank is planning machine learning approaches to map settlements and population density.
- @MforJ collates and releases open data for crime and justice in the US.
- The Open Data Index just launched for Brazil, complete with municipal indices for Sao Paulo & Rio de Janeiro.
- #AI in #advox action. Algorithms trained on@MuckRock requests will tell you whether or not your #FOIA request is likely to succeed.
In the Methodological Weeds
FOIAnet has published a 3-part methodology to Rate RTI Implementation (qua SDG Indicator 16.10.2). That’s exciting since the UN has declined to provide measurement tools and because easy tools for civil society measurement are always a win. The big question is whether @FOIAnet will provide support to ensure quality and comparable evaluations.
The development economics blogosphere had some fantastic discussions about generalizing and transporting case-based evidence, and the research design pitfalls that RCTs tend to fall into. More soon in a seperate post.
- Postdoctoral Researcher in Digital Ethics @oiioxford (deadline 26 June)
- News Practices & Media Law in Africa: Developing a Research Agenda (1 June, Portsmouth, UK)
- CFP: International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling (Deadline: 23 June. Event: 14-17 Nov, Portugal)
Miscellanea & Absurdum
- HungerGames in the Resistance: the inmitable @Mlsif on funding and competition in contemporary US advocacy
- Check to see if your name was used to send fake anti-net neutrality comments to the FCC investigation.
- Professor Mike Daube put his dog on the editorial board of several academic journals. Because the academy.
- The Colombian Journalism Review is tracking Trump-era assault on press norms
- UN Special Rapporteur report on civil society, and how sad the world would be without it.
- There’s a medieval fantasy city generator