ISBN 9781928502128
Pages 260
Dimensions 234 x 156mm
Illustrations B/W Illustrations
Published 2020
Publisher African Minds Publishers, South Africa
Format Paperback

Situating Open Data 


Global Trends in Local Contexts

edited by Danny Lämmerhirt, Ana Brandusescu, Natalia Domagala, Patrick Enaholo

Open data and its effects on society are always woven into infrastructural legacies, social relations, and the political economy. This raises questions about how our understanding and engagement with open data shifts when we focus on its situated use.

To shed light onto these questions, Situating Open Data provides several empirical accounts of open data practices, the local implementation of global initiatives, and the development of new open data ecosystems. Drawing on case studies in different countries and contexts, the chapters demonstrate the practices and actors involved in open government data initiatives unfolding within different socio-political settings.

The book proposes three recommendations for researchers, policy-makers and practitioners. First, beyond upskilling through ‘data literacy’ programmes, open data initiatives should be specified through the kinds of data practices and effects they generate. Second, global visions of open data implementation require more studies of the resonances and tensions created in localised initiatives. And third, research into open data ecosystems requires more attention to the histories and legacies of information infrastructures and how these shape who benefits from open data flows.

As such, this volume departs from the framing of data as a resource to be deployed. Instead, it proposes a prism of different data practices in different contexts through which to study the social relations, capacities, infrastructural histories and power structures affecting open data initiatives. It is hoped that the contributions collected in Situating Open Data will spark critical reflection about the way open data is locally practiced and implemented. The contributions should be of interest to open data researchers, advocates, and those in or advising government administrations designing and rolling out effective open data initiatives.

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About the Editors

Danny Lämmerhirt

Danny Lämmerhirt is an ethnographer of digital data with an interest in public participation and critical data practices. Currently he is a PhD candidate at the University of Siegen, Germany. His dissertation examines how health data sharing platforms use data donations to turn personal data into ‘valuable’ resources and how notions of ‘value’ are constructed and contested. Danny was research lead at the Open Knowledge Foundation and assistant researcher with the Fraunhofer Society and at the University of Amsterdam.

Ana Brandusescu

Ana Brandusescu is an independent researcher, advisor and facilitator. She is the resident Professor of Practice for 2019–2020 at McGill University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Montreal (CIRM) and an OpenNorth Fellow where she will design and implement a research agenda on AI in cities and its transformative effects on institutions. Ana previously led research and policy projects at the Web Foundation. She is on the advisory board of Learning from Small Cities.

Natalia Domagala

Natalia Domagala leads on data ethics policy at the Cabinet Office, Government Digital Service in the UK. She previously advised on open government and open data policies for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the UK and implemented open data challenges for 360Giving. She has research experience in anthropology, gender, civic tech, and economic development. Natalia received her MSc in Local Economic Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and her BA in Anthropology and Media from Goldsmiths University.

Patrick Enaholo

Patrick Enaholo holds a doctoral degree in media and communication from the University of Leeds, UK. His research interests include digital/social media and open data with particular focus on their cultural significance in society. He is currently a member of faculty at the Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos, Nigeria, where he also heads the Open Data Research Centre, a research unit focusing on the impact of data on development in developing contexts.