Public agencies are under pressure to create new capabilities to open government data. A common assumption when opening government data is that simply supplying more data freely and in more formats will lead to more use. That use will lead to value creation and, in turn, will motivate government to make the necessary changes to continue opening more data. But, we know from experience, that supplying more and more data does not necessarily produce the results we anticipated.
The Center for Technology in Government (CTG) has released a white paper, The Dynamics of Opening Government Data, based on findings from a year-long research project, funded by SAP, to help organizations better understand the value generated through opening government data. The white paper presents an approach to analyze and model open data initiatives based on two key ideas: context and dynamics.
Two active open data initiatives are looked at. The first is the release of restaurant inspection data in New York City and the second is the release of street construction projects data in the City of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.
Through the case descriptions and a system dynamic model, we explore how stakeholders (such as app developers, third-party information suppliers) and their patterns of interaction with government agencies change over time. As well as how data management practices, policies, and citizen demand change.
Based on our analysis, the paper presents the following considerations for agencies in pursuit of opening government data.
- Release government data that are relevant to both agency performance and the public interest.
- Invest in strategies to estimate how different stakeholders will use the data.
- Devise data management practices that improve context in order to ‘future-proof’ data resources.
- Think about sustainability for long term value creation.