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Open Data in the Governance of South African Higher Education

December 07, 2016 by Fran├žois van Schalkwyk, Michelle Willmers, Laura Czerniewicz

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The availability and accessibility of open data has the potential to increase transparency and accountability and, in turn, the potential to improve the governance of universities as public institutions. In addition, it is suggested that open data is likely to increase the quality, efficacy and efficiency of research and analysis of the national higher education system by providing a shared empirical base for critical interrogation and reinterpretation. The Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET) has developed an online, open data platform providing institutional-level data on South African higher education. However, other than anecdotal feedback, little is known about how the data is being used. Using CHET as a case study, this project studied the use of the CHET open data initiative by university planners as well as by higher education studies researchers. It did so by considering the supply of and demand for open data as well as the roles of intermediaries in the South African higher education governance ecosystem.