Little systematic and empirical research on the impact of Open Data has occurred to date, and no more so has been discussed as to how to empirically measure these important transformations. Furthermore, there are significant risks to marginalized communities that can be exacerbated by emerging practices if the necessary, initial research is not done. Thus, while recognizing the potential of the OGD movement to achieve a range of democratic and developmental outcomes, research must play an important role in guiding future investments on OGD initiatives in order to harness its full potential and mitigate potential, unintended negative effects.
As part of our Open Data research agenda, the Web Foundation engaged in discussions with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) last year and we are launching today, in partnership with IDRC and the Berkman Center at Harvard University, the Open Data Research (South).
The aim of this effort is to convene a community of researchers and practitioners to think about how to assess whether and how OGD initiatives and projects are realizing their promises. This network is tasked with developing the appropriate research questions, and designing and developing a research plan to uncover whether OGD is achieving the positive results that justify its activities.
Join the Discussion at the OGP Event in April and at Our Next Project Event
We are organizing a private meeting with experts alongside the Open Government Partnership annual event, in Brasilia in April, that will serve to set forth the initial shaping of the research agenda. The results of this meeting and initial public discussions will begin as an OGP side panel event on April, 18th at 10:00am. If you plan to attend the event, registration is required.
If you cannot attend the event in Brazil, there is additional opportunity for the public to participate. We intend to hold a public workshop at the Berkman Center at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. We are currently planning for a June/July 2012 timeframe. More information and a Call for Papers will be posted later in time and with as much advance notice as possible.
We Are Also Investigating Open Data Usage
In addition to this new project launching today and, as part of our research efforts, I have recently joined the program committee for a workshop jointly organized by the W3C and the European Commission titled “Using Open Data: policy modeling, citizen empowerment, data journalism.” The workshop takes place on 19-20 June 2012, in Brussels, Belgium.
The objective of the workshop is to provide a joint discussion forum for developers of applications that make use of open data, and the end users of those applications such as policy makers, journalists and citizens.
The Call for Papers is open until May 19, so you are still well in time to submit a (required) position paper and participate in the workshop.