Research Links (w21-23/16)

jeez, long one. shouldn’t wait three weeks to put these up.

Papers / Findings

  • A lab experiment suggests that including participation mechanisms (particularly commenting) in design of regulatory schemes (agri-environmental in this case) can increase compliance (though this effect is short lived, and the authors suggest more participatory mechanisms might yield longer gains in compliance).
  • anti-discrimination algorithm: paper suggesting an algorithmic method for using big crime data to predict the results of “stop and frisk” tactics, and use them to combat police discrimination and corruption
  • Digital Advocacy: Study of Israeli NGOs and politicians provides evidence for a more nuanced understanding of digital advocacy (it’s not the tools that change the game, but individual NGOs’ relationships to digital tools directly impact thier advocacy impact).
    Continue reading “Research Links (w21-23/16)”

Quick Note: Using the Rhetoric of Civic Tech

There’s a recurrent obsession with self-naming and differentiation in international thinking  about how technology can facilitate some kind of betterness (nice overviews here and here).

Part of this is likely about fashion, funding and social prominence, but there’s also legitimate concerns about how our labels impact “the field”’s popular salience or ability to learn.

For me, the greatest annoyance has always been finding the right term when writing stuff, a label that’s inclusive (“open government” excludes private sector campaigns), precise (“tech for social good” isn’t) and concise (“technology for transparency and accountability initiatives” doesn’t roll of the tongue or keyboard, and the acronym, well, acronyms often make me want to cry). Continue reading “Quick Note: Using the Rhetoric of Civic Tech”

Can Millennials Save E-government?

Many analysts (including yours truly, in a book called “Government 2.0”) predicted that by 2016, digital government would already long be a reality. In practice, the “e-gov revolution” has been an exceedingly slow-moving one. Sure, technology has improved some processes, and scores of public services have moved online, but the public sector has hardly been transformed.

What initial e-gov efforts managed was to construct pretty storefronts—in the form of websites—as the entrance to government systems stubbornly built for the industrial age. Few fundamental changes altered the structures, systems and processes of government behind those websites.

That’s William D. Eggers* writing in Nextgov. He argues that the promise of e-gov is finally set to deliver due to market dynamics whereby the “consumers” of e-gov are now a bunch of millenials who are so accustomed to digital services that they won’t put up with crappy services from government (plus revolutions in govt, more tech savvy politicians, and the widespread adaption of agile approaches). Continue reading “Can Millennials Save E-government?”

What’s e-gov got to do with it?


Emily Shaw posted a great piece on the relevance of e-governance research for civic technology earlier this month. She argues that academic e-government research dwarfs the nearly non-existent academic interest in civic tech (as evidenced by 169,000 vs 185 hits on google scholar), and that civic technologists should care about research on e-government.

And in the civic tech world, we can certainly derive value from the wisdom of our e-government colleagues who’ve been working to understand what happens when government service meets the internet. To the extent that civic tech implementation requires at least an open mind—and better, an enthusiastic partnership—on the side of our government partners, it is best if we know where they’ve been coming from.

I think she’s absolutely right, but want to challenge a couple of the distinctions she makes, and look for more proactive ways that civic technologists might engage e-government learnings.   Continue reading “What’s e-gov got to do with it?”

Research Links (w20/16)

Papers / Findings

Research Links ( w19/16)

Papers / Findings

  • Fifty Shades of Open. New paper from @jpom &@robinpeek on all the wacky ways we talk about #open. Breaks the word down into 7 primary tropes. Useful reference point when parsing jargon.
  • MySociety writes about research on FOI requests in the Czech Republic. Their experiment sent 2 FOI requests to 100 agencies via both email and the national Avateli implementation. Quality of responses were comparable, but on average, Avateli responses came two days quicker (7.2 vs 9.2 days). No paper or data yet. Continue reading “Research Links ( w19/16)”

RIO: new examples of open sharing research data

As a practical contribution to the scholarly discourse on new modes of communicating knowledge, Prof. Cameron Neylon, Centre for Culture and Technology, Curtin University, Australia, and collaborators are to publish a series of outputs and outcomes resulting from their ongoing data sharing pilot project in the open access journal Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO).

Starting with their Grant Proposal, submitted and accepted for funding by the CanadianInternational Development Research Centre (IDRC), over the course of sixteen months, ending in December 2016, they are to openly publish the project outputs starting with the grant proposal.

The project will collaborate with 8 volunteering IDRC grantees to develop Data Management Plans, and then support and track their development. The project expects to submit literature reviews, Data Management Plans, case studies and a final research article with RIO. These will report and reflect on the lessons they will have learnt concerning open data policies in the specific context of development research. Thus, the project is to provide advice on refining the open research data policy guidelines.

I only just saw this when the project published it’s research proposal (presumably the first of many coming releases of research materials this year). The project looks interesting enough, but I’m  mostly excited to see the norm of sharing raw research data, and to do so thoughtfully (#responsibledata issues duly noted). Continue reading “RIO: new examples of open sharing research data”