Accepted paper:

From open data to empowerment: lessons from Indonesia and the Philippines

Authors:

Michael Canares (World Wide Web Foundation)

Paper short abstract:

Using case studies in the Philippines and Indonesia, this paper explains how and why open data can affect the spaces, places, and forms of power and how it provides avenues for citizens to exert efforts to reclaim its space in decision-making, agenda-setting, and meaning-making.

Paper long abstract:

The rhetoric on open data in recent years has concentrated on opening up of government data sets that citizens can access (Davies et al 2013). The assumption is that when government open up data sets, the public will use it to advance political, economic, and social gains (Hogge, 2015). However, this assumption is intensely flawed especially in the context of developing countries (Mutuku and Mahihu 2014,; Canares, 2014). Despite these evidences, supply-side and government-centric interventions on open data policy still persist. This research investigates four case studies, two each from Indonesia and the Philippines, by looking at the immediate result of opening up of data in the sub-national governments. Using John Gaventa's "power cube" (2006),we use the cases to explain how and why open data can affect the spaces, places, and forms of power and how it provides avenues for citizens to exert efforts to reclaim its space in decision-making, agenda-setting, and meaning-making. Without this initial process, the political, economic, and social gains expected to result from open data will not materialize. We argue however, that this is the initial and immediate effect of open data, only made possible through a mediated process of making data visible, interesting, and useful, and using data to be the platform for discussion between the government and the governed. This echo earlier work that highlights the role of intermediaries (Van Schalkwyk et al, 2015) play in the open data landscape, that hastens the process of achieving impact through open data.

panel P01
Power, politics and digital development [Information, Technology and Development Study Group]