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Research project: Institutionalising open data practice in Africa

As governments and other institutions open up vast and complex datasets the expectation is that there will be widespread benefit as a consequence. There are, however, several stumbling blocks in the path of extracting the benefits of open data. This project focuses on the organisational dynamics that have the propensity to prevent open data practice from being embedded in organisations. With its focus on developing country contexts, the study aims to contribute to our theoretical understanding of change processes in organisations and provide insight into the socio-technical conditions under which open data initiatives in public agencies are likely to succeed.

The project will develop a set of indicators which will gauge the extent to which open data practice is being embedded in a sustainable manner in public organisations. These organisations will be selected at both national and city level in South Africa and Kenya. Central to the indicators developed will be the licensing of open datasets as evidence of a normative acceptance at multiple organisational levels of the value of open data. 

Research questions

  • Is open data practice being institutionalised in public agencies in Africa?
  • What are the possible indicators of open data practice being institutionalised in public agencies?
  • What do the indicators reveal about resistance to the adoption of open data practice in public agencies?
  • What are different effects of multiple institutional domains that may be at play in government as an organisation?


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