This paper looks at how two Swedish government agencies (police and social insurance) use social media to build legitimacy, highlighting the importance of institutionally integrating communication strategies, and how this can create tensions with highly interactive approaches to citizen engagement. An AidData report emphasizes the broader benefits of government engagement, noting that the best way to increase civic participation in government monitoring is government responsiveness, according to field experiments conducted in Uganda, where responsiveness clearly outperformed encouragement from community and media figures. Analysis of U.S. national online panel data (n=1,201), on the other hand, finds strong correlations between expressive uses of tech, online storytelling networks and civic participation both online and offline, and finds community storytelling “to be a catalyst for building a vibrant civic communities.” Ahmed Tohamy’s analysis of Youth Activism and Social Networks in Egypt highlights the importance of moving between online and offline contexts. @DataInnovation has surveyed Latin American Open Data Portals, finding “stark differences in the amount of data published, the format of the data, and the most popular datasets in open data portals in Latin America,” and an appetite for accountability data across all countries. The report has breakdowns for software and sectoral data by country.
The State of Research: A lit review of open government data and freedom of information research uses topic modeling to assert that the former tends to focus on tech, the later on policy and process. Thinking impact, part of the reason that evidence isn’t making it into health policy seems to be that multiple disciplines driving evidence are using different tactics to do so, and not collaborating or sharing insights. Similarly, @GlobalIntegrity‘s @alanhudson1 calls for organizations working with data and [development/politics/accountability/social change] to share learnings and insights across organizational boundaries. Hard to argue with that.
Community & Resources
The EU is being criticized for failing to release a report on anti-corruption efforts in member states and this paper argues that open government data strategies can help Gulf states diversify their economies.
@Vot4ntonio sums up what he’s learned while at about four international research initiatives examining big data and politics, Daedalus has a special issue on deliberative democracy, which includes stocktaking, academic tiffs, and fascinating case studies in Uganda and China and China Layne offers guidance to help small organizations get their data ready to be used for research.
Data Proofer is an app that automates the process of checking a dataset for errors or potential mistakes, Routledge has a new Companion to Media and Human Rights and the World Bank has revamped the Health, Nutrition & Population Data portal, with over 250 cross-country indicators.
In the Methodological Weeds
@sbh4th takes down recent research suggesting “that support for democratic governance is declining among younger generations“, noting that the way the data is grouped and presented (esp with regard to age cohorts) is misleading, and requires a much more nuanced read.
New research suggests that putting attention check questions in your survey has negative consequences for data quality. TL;DR: don’t make respondents work too hard.
- The 2017 ISIF Asia Grants (AUD 155,000) include a focus on internet operations research.
- Summer School on Big Data for Peace & Justice (Deadline: 31 July. Event: 28 Aug– 1 Sept, The Hague)
- Assistant Professor or Lecturer in New Media and Power (Cyprus)
- Calls for submissions: Handbook of Communication for Development and Social Change (Deadline: 1 Oct)
Miscellanea & Absurdum
- Academic self-citation rates are higher in individualist cultures than in collectivist cultures (LSE Impact Blog)
- Carnegie Mellon scientists use app to track foul odors in Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Intelligence Accountability in a Globalizing World (a chapter on accountability in national security intelligence operations since 9/11, a concept I hope we’ll see more of)
- Fake news is already disrupting Kenya’s high-stakes election campaign (Quartz)
- Married People Have More Sex (Flowing Data)
- Up on your high horse about dystopian #civicfiction a la Man in the High Castle and Handmaiden’s Tale? @EchoChamberClub has a fascinating survey of alternative takes from the less liberal.
- (Un)Ethical Futures: Utopia, Dystopia & Science Fiction (Deadline: 13 Aug. Event: 16-17 Dec, Melbourne)
- Intersections of food, fermentation, and feminism
- …and thanks to @fp2p for pointing out mount stupid: