Researching the emerging impacts of open data: revisiting the ODDC conceptual framework
Open data has rapidly moved from being a niche interest, to being part of the global policy mainstream. Government-led open data initiatives have spread across the globe, and civil society or technologist experiments using data to improve governance have been spreading organically, from budget monitoring in Nigeria, to court transparency projects in Argentina. It is increasingly seen as enabler of a “data revolution” in the process of decision-making and accountability. However, understanding how experience of open data will vary from country to country and context to context, and, understanding the common features of open data that are shaping its implementation in these diverse settings, requires broad-based research framework. It requires research that can engage with both existing realities of decision-making in sectors, acknowledging the growing complexity of this process in an increasingly networked society. In this paper we have reviewed the framework of the “Open Data in Developing Countries”(ODDC) project, the largest research project on the impact of open data in developing countries to date. The framework was designed to help explore the link between openness in the data ecosystem, decentralized changes in decision-making, and positive and negative emerging impacts such as transparency and accountability, inclusion and empowerment as well as innovation and economic development. It was tested to generate cross-learning from 17 in-depth cases studies in 14 countries, as well as generate policy-relevant findings. This paper reviews and updates the original framework based on the findings and reflections developed during the research project.