New Research Guide on Open Data and Accountabiltiy

The GSDRC is a resource centre that synthesises and summarizes research for use in international development programming. It’s a great initiative for making scholarly work relevant and useful in the real world, and last week they released a new topic guide on open data and accountability. I was excited to take a look, as I’ve previously found their guides and responses to research help desk queries to be insightful and useful. This guide builds on work about infomediaries and CSOs holding governments to account, which the GSDRC produced in the last year or so, and provides a strong overview in an easily accessible format for program designers. I felt that it fell short in a few important ways, though, especially by relying on the usual academic suspects, by skipping some of the most important scholarly debates and dynamics for transparency programming, and by not directly addressing the significantly nascent state of research on the topic. Continue reading “New Research Guide on Open Data and Accountabiltiy”

Methods for Measuring Open Data

Back in 2014, the Web Foundation and the GovLab at NYU brought together open data assessment experts from Open Knowledge, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations, Canada’s International Development Research Centre, and elsewhere to explore the development of common methods and frameworks for the study of open data. It resulted in a draft template or framework for measuring open data.

That’s Danny Lämmerhirt and Stefaan Verhulst on the OIDC blog, prepping for follow up work at the Madrid conference next month. I’m embarrassed to note that I didn’t know about that framework (troubling re pt 3 below), or the recommendations that followed in the International Open Data Conference roadmap of 2015: Continue reading “Methods for Measuring Open Data”

What’s e-gov got to do with it?

Lots.

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?”