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Your chance to contribute data ABOUT open data!

Are you a public servant who deals with Open Government Data in the course of your work?

You’re invited to participate in a research project conducted by the School of Computing and Information Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Information Systems, at the University of Wollongong. The research is on ‘Enablers and inhibitors of the use of open government data to create public value: A survey research study’.

You can participate in the study by completing the online questionnaire accessed through the link below. The survey takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

https://uow.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6KEUCtLcAJYLBZk

Further information about the survey is provided in the Participant Information Sheet which you can access by clicking on the survey link.

If you have any questions, please contact Nuria Benmohamed (Ph. D. student) in the first instance. Contact details can be found under Researchers in the Participant Information Sheet.

This research project has been reviewed and approved by the UOW Human Research Ethics Committee under application number 2021/338.

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Very interesting. The purpose of the research is to “understand and analyse key factors that enable and inhibit creating public value from open government data (OGD) usage in the public sector in Australian agencies”.

It’s timely, given the resurgence of high-level interest in open data, reflected in the Digital Strategy 2021-2025.

The survey seems to focus quite a bit on the IT platform/system underpinning the release or use of open data, within an agency. I feel there are many other factors that enable or inhibit the use of open data - eg management support / leadership; awareness of existing open data; availability of open data; data quality, timeliness and currency; information governance; security and privacy frameworks. The survey touches on these aspects but seems to put the “system” at the centre.

Do you think the IT system has a role to play, in overcoming some of these other cultural and procedural (people and process) factors?

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Great question Sonya, you really got me thinking about the role of IT systems in the broader picture!

Personally, I think improvements to IT systems generally flow from things like a culture of open data, robust frameworks, or changes to policy. We definitely don’t want our platforms to be a barrier, e.g. an onerous publishing experience will discourage a custodian from publishing more datasets. But the best UX in the world isn’t going to help the custodian who doesn’t feel empowered to use open licencing, or isn’t allocated the resources to clean data up for reuse.

On the other hand, technology could drive the demand for OGD. For example, as improvements to data visualisation tools accelerate, it becomes faster and easier to present data in a way that more people find comprehensible (and therefore useful). The challenge lies in translating that demand into supply if we haven’t already been laying the foundations, such as capturing data with future reuse baked into the requirements.

To get a little off-topic, I think as individual public servants at any level we can contribute to a culture of open data, so that there’s fertile ground for policy changes and other opportunities. And with the renewed high-level interest, it’s certainly an exciting time to be in the open government data space!

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