Impacts of open data: participation

The following post is an excerpt from my thesis entitled Linked open data for public sector information.
Open data enables better interaction between citizens and governments through the Web [1]. It redresses the information asymmetry between the public sector and citizens [2] by advocating that everyone should have the same conditions for use of public sector data as the public body from which the data originates. Sharing public data facilitates universal participation since no one is excluded from reusing and redistributing open data [3].
Open data opens the possibility of citizen self-service. It makes the public more self-reliant, which reduces the need for government regulation [4]. It enables to tap into the cognitive surplus and improve public services with the crowdsourced work of the public. One of the main benefits of open data consists in third-party developed citizen services [5, p. 40]. Citizens may thus become more involved in public affairs, which ultimately leads to a more participatory democracy.


  1. ACAR, Suzanne; ALONSO, José M.; NOVAK, Kevin (eds.). Improving access to government through better use of the Web [online]. W3C Interest Group Note. May 12th, 2009 [cit. 2012-04-06]. Available from WWW: http://www.w3.org/TR/egov-improving/
  2. GIGLER, Bjorn-Soren; CUSTER, Samantha; RAHEMTULLA, Hanif. Realizing the vision of open government data: opportunities, challenges and pitfalls [online]. World Bank, 2011 [cit. 2012-04-11]. Available from WWW: http://www.scribd.com/WorldBankPublications/d/75642397-Realizing-the-Vision-of-Open-Government-Data-Long-Version-Opportunities-Challenges-and-Pitfalls
  3. DIETRICH, Daniel; GRAY, Jonathan; MCNAMARA, Tim; POIKOLA, Antti; POLLOCK, Rufus; TAIT, Julian; ZIJLSTRA, Ton. The open data handbook [online]. 2010 — 2012 [cit. 2012-03-09]. Available from WWW: http://opendatahandbook.org/
  4. TAUBERER, Joshua. Open data is civic capital: best practices for “open government data” [online]. Version 1.5. January 29th, 2011 [cit. 2012-03-17]. Available from WWW: http://razor.occams.info/pubdocs/opendataciviccapital.html
  5. LONGO, Justin. #OpenData: digital-era governance thoroughbred or new public management Trojan horse? Public Policy & Governance Review. Spring 2011, vol. 2, no. 2, p. 38 — 51. Also available from WWW: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1856120

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