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Open Government Data Ecosystems: Linking
Transparency for Innovation with Transparency
for Participation and Accountabilit...
Roadmap
• Background
• Research questions
• Theory
• Methods
• Results
• Implications for policy and practice
• Limitation...
Background
• Widespread diffusion of Open Government Data
(OGD) initiatives
• The rhetoric of OGD
– product and service in...
Background
• Both research and practice have taken a
bifurcated path:
1. Transparency for innovation
• Apps development
• ...
Research questions
• What are the conceptual and empirical
connections between Transparency for
innovation and Transparenc...
Theory
Sociotechnical theory and ecosystems
• Sociotechnical systems
– Dynamic interplay of organizational, human,
materia...
(Adapted from
Dawes et al.,
2016)
Advocacy & interaction
(for improved OGD)
OGD Policies &
Strategies
Data publication
Dat...
(Adapted from
Dawes et al.,
2016)
Advocacy & interaction
(for improved OGD)
OGD Policies &
Strategies
Data publication
Dat...
Research methods
Exploratory case study:
OGD on European Funding in Italy
Review of 3 complementary open government data i...
European Structural and Investment Funds
– EU co-financing: €454 billion for the 2014-2020
period (43% of EU budget)
– Pro...
Case study
OpenCoesione: Italy’s OGD Portal
• Launched by the Ministry of
Economic Development in 2012
• Publishes data on...
• Developed by civil society in 2013
• Promotes public engagement by
organizing citizen monitoring
activities of the proje...
Case study
OpenCoesione School
• Launched by the OpenCoesione staff in
2013 as a public participation program,
based on op...
Results
Integrated OGD Ecosystem
Advocacy & interaction
(for improved OGD)
OGD Policies &
Strategies
Data publication
Data...
Results
Integrated OGD Ecosystem
Advocacy & interaction
(for improved OGD)
OGD Policies &
Strategies
Data publication
Data...
Implications for policy and practice
• Enablers
– Proactive strategies for stimulating data use improves
both data quality...
Limitations
• Single exploratory case study
• Interviews cover only the national staff of the
3 initiatives
• Other kinds ...
Next steps
• Collect additional data about the Italian case
‒ from administrators, political leaders, NGOs, high-
school s...
Contact information
• Luigi Reggi (luigi.reggi@gmail.com)
Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, University at Al...
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Open Government Data Ecosystems: Linking Transparency for Innovation with Transparency for Participation and Accountability

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Presentation at IFIP EGOV 2016 Conference. September 5, 2016.

Abstract. The rhetoric of open government data (OGD) promises that data transparency will lead to multiple public benefits: economic and social innovation, civic participation, public-private collaboration, and public accountability. In reality much less has been accomplished in practice than advocates have hoped. OGD research to address this gap tends to fall into two streams – one that focuses on data publication and re-use for purposes of innovation, and one that views publication as a stimulus for civic participation and government accountability - with little attention to whether or how these two views interact. In this paper we use an ecosystem perspective to explore this question. Through an exploratory case study we show how two related cycles of influences can flow from open data publication. The first addresses transparency for innovation goals, the second addresses larger issues of data use for public engagement and greater government accountability. Together they help explain the potential and also the barriers to reaching both kinds of goals.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Open Government Data Ecosystems: Linking Transparency for Innovation with Transparency for Participation and Accountability

  1. 1. Open Government Data Ecosystems: Linking Transparency for Innovation with Transparency for Participation and Accountability Luigi Reggi, Sharon Dawes Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy IFIP EGOV 2016 Conference September 5, 2016
  2. 2. Roadmap • Background • Research questions • Theory • Methods • Results • Implications for policy and practice • Limitations and future research
  3. 3. Background • Widespread diffusion of Open Government Data (OGD) initiatives • The rhetoric of OGD – product and service innovation – public participation in policy-making – accountability • But not much evidence that these benefits are being produced – publication by itself is not enough to stimulate meaningful use of the data
  4. 4. Background • Both research and practice have taken a bifurcated path: 1. Transparency for innovation • Apps development • New business models 2. Transparency for accountability and participation • Better decision making • Increased democratic participation • Greater accountability can lead to government responsiveness and trust in government
  5. 5. Research questions • What are the conceptual and empirical connections between Transparency for innovation and Transparency for accountability and participation? • How can OGD policies and strategies be designed to improve both? What are the main barriers and enablers to doing so?
  6. 6. Theory Sociotechnical theory and ecosystems • Sociotechnical systems – Dynamic interplay of organizational, human, material, and technological aspects – Multi-actor physical and institutional environment • Ecosystem models – Trace the components of OGD Programs, their dynamic relationships and their influence on program performance
  7. 7. (Adapted from Dawes et al., 2016) Advocacy & interaction (for improved OGD) OGD Policies & Strategies Data publication Data use & apps Socio-economic benefits Theory Open Government Data Ecosystem
  8. 8. (Adapted from Dawes et al., 2016) Advocacy & interaction (for improved OGD) OGD Policies & Strategies Data publication Data use & apps Socio-economic benefits Theory Open Government Data Ecosystem
  9. 9. Research methods Exploratory case study: OGD on European Funding in Italy Review of 3 complementary open government data initiatives Data sources: • Semi-structured interviews (Jan - Mar 2016) – 4 interviews with practitioners with different roles at the OpenCoesione initiative (1 PM, 3 analysts) – 2 interviews with 2 members of the Monithon national staff – 1 representative of a local community in Southern Italy – 2 researchers at two different Italian research institutions • Participant observations (June-August 2015) • 3 published program reviews Data analysis: Qualitative data were coded to highlight the relations among the actors in the ecosystem and their main roles. This evidence was used to augment existing conceptual models.
  10. 10. European Structural and Investment Funds – EU co-financing: €454 billion for the 2014-2020 period (43% of EU budget) – Problems of efficiency, effectiveness and accountability – As a way to address this problem, regulations require EU States to publish OGD on projects funded and recipients Case study Context
  11. 11. Case study OpenCoesione: Italy’s OGD Portal • Launched by the Ministry of Economic Development in 2012 • Publishes data on 950k projects (€51.2 billion investment) • Launched proactive initiatives to stimulate data use – maps and interactive visualizations – articles with data analysis – data journalism schools – participation in hackathons organized by civic technology communities
  12. 12. • Developed by civil society in 2013 • Promotes public engagement by organizing citizen monitoring activities of the projects found on OpenCoesione – field investigations – Involves local communities and national NGOs • 98 “citizen monitoring reports” uploaded after 2 years of activity • Problems of economic sustainability Case study Monithon - Monitoring Marathon
  13. 13. Case study OpenCoesione School • Launched by the OpenCoesione staff in 2013 as a public participation program, based on open data availability • 2,800 high-school students involved (2015-16 edition) • Develops new skills for data analysis and field investigation • Uses Monithon tools and methodology for civic monitoring of public spending • Students organize accountability forums with political leaders and administrators • In some limited cases, the feedback is used to improve policy making
  14. 14. Results Integrated OGD Ecosystem Advocacy & interaction (for improved OGD) OGD Policies & Strategies Data publication Data use & apps Socio-economic benefits Collection of citizen feedback on policy results Policy making Policy benefits Use of citizen feedback by intermediaries
  15. 15. Results Integrated OGD Ecosystem Advocacy & interaction (for improved OGD) OGD Policies & Strategies Data publication Data use & apps Socio-economic benefits Collection of citizen feedback on policy results Policy making Policy benefits Use of citizen feedback by intermediaries
  16. 16. Implications for policy and practice • Enablers – Proactive strategies for stimulating data use improves both data quality and public engagement – Engagement is more feasible when data content and characteristics match the interests of the user community • Barriers – Tenuous sustainability of civic technology initiatives and OGD intermediaries – Absence of real public accountability mechanisms between government and citizens
  17. 17. Limitations • Single exploratory case study • Interviews cover only the national staff of the 3 initiatives • Other kinds of data (e.g., social media) may show different patterns
  18. 18. Next steps • Collect additional data about the Italian case ‒ from administrators, political leaders, NGOs, high- school students and teachers, local communities ‒ Consider different types of data • Test the integrated model in other cases – Other EU countries sharing the same ESIF regulations, but with different institutional and socio-economic settings. e.g. Poland, Netherlands
  19. 19. Contact information • Luigi Reggi (luigi.reggi@gmail.com) Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, University at Albany-SUNY • Sharon Dawes (sdawes@ctg.albany.edu) Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, University at Albany-SUNY Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany-SUNY

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