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Who makes data decisions in government?

Web Foundation · February 16, 2017

Governments around the world are beginning to open up public data – a shift in attitude towards information that has the potential to make government more transparent and accountable to citizens. But open data is not a binary proposition. There are many ways to manage open data – from how data is gathered to its management, publication and more. We want to understand these different governance models better.

A new research agenda

We have started mapping out a research agenda, filling the current gap in the study of open data governance. It is vital that we understand these models and how they interact with open data policy and implementation if we are to make sure open data realises its potential to improve citizens’ lives through better public services.

By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of governance models, the global open data community, along with the Open Data Charter, and governments can work together to understand what works and what doesn’t.

Our approach

In the next few months we hope to explore the mechanisms of decision making on open data within and across government; and map the relationships between data holders, decision makers, data producers, data quality assurance actors, data users and gatekeepers.

This will provide insights on:

  • How to improve the way governments are creating and using open data across all functions, departments and agencies
  • The “levers” within governance models used to provide government data more openly
  • Who is accountable for open data decisions – allowing a more informed dialogue with stakeholders on the impact of open government data

Call for contributions

Are you interested in helping us? We invite you to contribute ideas and to participate in the design and execution of one or more case studies. And if you’ve already done research on this – we would like to hear from you!

Contact one or all of the authors at:

Ana Brandusescu:

Danny Lämmerhirt:

Stefaan Verhulst:


You can find the full call for contributions on the Open Knowledge International website

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