Fostering a Critical Development Perspective on Open Government Data

December 06, 2016 by International Development Research Centre, World Wide Web Foundation, Berkman Center at Harvard University

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In recent years, a diverse coalition of actors has pushed the creation and diffusion of open data programmes around the world. Governments, international organizations, businesses, academics, media, civil society organizations, and web developers have embraced and sponsored open data programs creating large expectations a suitable remedy for challenges of good governance, economic growth, social inclusion, innovation, and participation. Though in many cases this may be true, there is a need for a critical perspective on whether the outcomes indeed occur and under what circumstances. There is a widespread lack of empirical evidence underlying the implementation of Open Data initiative and that can guide better practice and policy formulation, particularly as it spreads to developing countries. Thus, this initial consultation explored substantive and procedural options for the implementation of a research agenda aimed at better understanding the impact of open data. This meeting brought together 20 renowned policy-oriented academics coming from diverse geographical areas and backgrounds in order to discuss an interdisciplinary research agenda on the impact of Open Government Data (OGD) initiatives under political, economic and social dimensions. The meeting included a debate on potential research questions and approaches that could inform an international research network on the impact of Open Government Data (OGD) in developing countries. The participants also expressed the commitment to the further development of the research agenda and demonstrated their interest in participate in a research network in different forms. They added a number of considerations and contributions for the development of a research network that would address these challenges.