Open government data

The pace at which new quantifiable information is being produced worldwide is far more rapid than any human capacity to process it, or derive meaningful conclusions from its analysis. This is true for commercial enterprises producing Big Data, but applies to the public sector as well. This course will acquaint students with the fast-paced transformations in the field of Open Data, and particularly the determinants, uses, and impacts of Open Government Data (OGD). It therefore aims to provide insights and tools in order to help close the gap between data availability and its potential to illuminate public debates.

In order to achieve this, the course will be structured along three complementary dimensions. A first theoretical one will situate discussions around OGD against the backdrop of wider concepts such as open government, universal access and transparency and accountability. A second factual dimension will account for the key stakeholders involved, the political economy incentives explaining the (non-)emergence and sustainability of OGD, the protocols to assess open data quality, and the overall evidence about its impacts. A third hands-on/exploratory dimension will provide students with tools to make use of open datasets, understand their technicalities, and learn through illustrations for various policy fields how Open Data can be used to exert accountability and enhance policy analyses.