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 a light on 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.