Whoa, week 26, half way through 2017. That went quick.
There are serious transparency and participation shortcomings in international transparency review mechanisms (like the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism and the OECD Working Group on Bribery, according to a new report from Transparency International. And a report on global internet censorship from @BKCHarvard finds “evidence of filtering in 26 countries across four broad content themes: political, social, topics related to conflict and security, and Internet tools (a term that includes censorship circumvention tools as well as social media platforms).”
Meanwhile, the new Assembly Civic Engagement Survey finds links between the urban design of neighborhoods and civic engagement of their residents, and Twitter beats police reporting when it comes to tracking and predicting riots, according to new research from Cardiff Univ, which “showed that on average the computer systems could pick up on disruptive events several minutes before officials and over an hour in some cases.”
There’s some fixed findings in countries. Open data platforms in Stockholm aren’t that open, and “are more similar to ‘closed’ platforms that provides APIs,” while studies of e-government initiatives in two other Swedish cities suggest that this might be a problem of translation into local governmental cultural contexts and incentives. A study of electoral video dissemination in rural Sierra Leone provides more evidence suggesting that relevant information increases and improves accountability-minded voting. In India, open government data use is on the uptick in India, but dominated by men and youth, according a recent survey (n=244). In Kenya, a review of the Huduma initiative (the govt’s, not the citizen monitoring platform, survey, n=335) finds that “egovernment is positively and significantly related to service delivery at the Huduma centers. It can therefore be concluded that the availability of e-government creates the necessary environment upon which better service delivery can be achieved.”
From the duh-desk: dropping laptops into Peruvian schools didn’t help much (large-scale randomized evaluation of OLPC).
Community and Resources
This article reviews examples of US-based digital activism tools (Democracy.io Sierra Club, Countable.us) and argues that they are “paradoxically widening the communication gap between citizens and their policymakers.” This article maps out the indirect costs of using open GIS data.
Meanwhile, DevEx sums up last week’s “Smart Government: Harnessing Technology for Public Good” conference in San Francisco and @jwyg summarizes a panel on Digital Methods for Public Policy (with abstracts and links to papers). The new Mobile Data for Social Good report from @UNGlobalPulse “outlines the value of harnessing mobile data for social good and provides an analysis of the gaps.”
The Engine Room has a new guide to investigative web research, the 2017 Resource Governance Index is out, there’s a new international legal survey of Transparency- and Freedom-to-Information legislation and @fp2p has a great blogpost on strategies for using performance data to advocate towards local governments.
@NakedDataZA newsletter is alway sharing cool resources, this week there was SkyTruth, which shares satellite imagery for civil society investigations, and Sheffield Methods Institute 90 second training videos for data tools.
In the Methodological Weeds
- 2 PhDs in Media and Social Justice (Deadline: 21 July, Sydney).
- Postdoc: Technology, Law and Society (Deadline: 18 Aug, University of California, Irvine)
- Lecturer, Strategic Communication (Deadline: 30 July, Seattle)
- @ODIHQ is looking for an organisation to conduct consumer focus groups and quantitative survey on personal data in the UK retail sector (Deadline 4 July, Budget: up to a maximum of £20k (plus VAT))
- @GlobalIntegrity is looking for contributors to the Africa Integrity Indicators (no deadline)
- The OGP is looking for national IRM researchers in 12 countries (Armenia, Cote d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Ghana, Jordan, Liberia, Norway, South Korea and Tunisia)
- Consultants for Scoping Study on EITI in Armenia (Deadline, 9 July, UK-based)
- Call for Submissions: The Journal of Alternative and Community Media
- @JPAL_Global is hosting an advanced workshop on Designing, Conducting, and Analyzing Field Experiments (Event: 1-3 Aug, Cambridge, MA, Course fee: $1,000)
- Geospatial Analysis for International Development: A Two-day Symposium and Workshop (cfp deadine passed, event: September 6-7, 2017 at UC Berkeley)
- The Qualitative Research in Communication Conference will focus on methods (cfp deadline passed, event: Bucharest, Oct. 4 – 6)
Miscellanea and Absurdum
- The week’s best paper title: “Open Access: Toward the Internet of the Mind“
- Power Causes Brain Damage (The Atlantic)
- Ken Dolls As Men On The Left: A Thread
- Alone Time (Flowing Data)
- When Your Job Wants You to Lie — ASPA NCAC book club meeting