Embedding Open Data Practice

December 06, 2016 by François van Schalkwyk, Michelle Willmers, Tobias Schonwetter

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Given the promise of open data – that is, the potential of open data to increase the credibility of institutions in the eyes of citizens through greater the transparency and greater accountability – we would suggest that the open data movement needs to develop a more nuanced understanding of how to institutionalise open data practices, particularly if open data practice is to become an enduring and taken-for-granted course of action by government agencies. While useful as mapping exercises, current enabler and barrier analyses on open data have not, we believe, drilled deep enough to provide reliable insights sensitive to the implementation context. There have undoubtedly been early successes on the open data supply side, but these successes are not yet unquali ed successes; questions remain regarding the sustainability of open data supply and about how ubiquitous supply is across government organisations. In the African context, there are fewer large-scale success stories, although there is evidence of commitments to opening up government data and of open data portals at state and/or regional government levels.