Benefits, Adoption Barriers and Myths of Open Data and Open Government

  • Posted on: 3 December 2012
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)
TitleBenefits, Adoption Barriers and Myths of Open Data and Open Government
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsJanssen M, Charalabidis Y, Zuiderwijk A
Keywordsadoption, diffusion, governance, institutional theory, open data, open government, systems theory, transformation

In this article, based on data collected through interviews and a workshop, the benefits and adoption barriers for open data have been derived. The results suggest that a conceptually simplistic view is often adopted with regard to open data, which automat- ically correlates the publicizing of data with use and benefits. Also, five “myths” concerning open data are presented, which place the expectations within a realistic perspective. Further, the recommendation is provided that such projects should take a user’s view.


Provides a list of 'Benefits of open data' (Table 1)
"...more insight into the user's perspective is neccessary before open data systems will be freely adopted"
Based on interviews that find 'a conceptually simplistic view of open data is often adopted with regards to open data, which automatically correlates the publicizing of data with use and benefits'. Uses predictions from systems and institutional theory.
Suggests that "institutional theory...preducts that the opening of data will reinforce existing structures instead of changing them...".

Open data advocacy generally works with assumption of the readiness of government for a process of opening which "considers influences, discourses, and exchanges as constructive and welcomes opposing views and inputs."; and with an assumption that government is ready to give up some extent of control.

Benefits of opendata

Clustered into (1) political and social; (2) economic; and (3) operational and technical.

"From the interviewees' responses, it seemed that economic growth and contributing to public values (transparency and accountability) are the overarching arguments for stimulating open data"

Also addresses barriers:
* Institutional * Task complexity * Use and participation * Legislation * Information quality

Systems theory

Discusses properties of an 'open system'. "The implication of the notion of feedback in systems theory is that, in opening their data, governments should not simply instigate one-way communication of their data but should expect or actively solicit feedback and be able to make sense of this feedback. The opening of systems provides the opportunity for creating feedback loops in which the government can learn from the public."

However - using Orlikowski, the article argues that the introduction of technologies often re-inforces rather than transforms organisational structures and work practices. Whilst in theory open data can shift responsibility wider than government, in practice when things go wrong we will still expect a response from government and so it still has to be prepared (and able) to react.

Five myths of open data

* Myth 1: The publicising of data will automatically yield benefits * Myth 2: All information should be unrestrictedly publicized * Myth 3: It is a matter of simply publishing public data * Myth 4: Every constituent can make use of open data * Myth 5: Open data will result in open government
"More information can result in less understanding, more confusion and less trust" (Quoting Strathern, 2000)
"There are no suitable metrics to evaluate whether opening data is a success" (Quting Bertot, McDermott, & Smith, 2012).

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