Assessing the Legitimacy of “Open” and “Closed” Data Partnerships for Sustainable Development


Paper by Andreas Rasche, Mette Morsing and Erik Wetter in Business and Society: “This article examines the legitimacy attached to different types of multi-stakeholder data partnerships occurring in the context of sustainable development. We develop a framework to assess the democratic legitimacy of two types of data partnerships: open data partnerships (where data and insights are mainly freely available) and closed data partnerships (where data and insights are mainly shared within a network of organizations). Our framework specifies criteria for assessing the legitimacy of relevant partnerships with regard to their input legitimacy as well as their output legitimacy. We demonstrate which particular characteristics of open and closed partnerships can be expected to influence an analysis of their input and output legitimacy….(More)”.

EU negotiators agree on new rules for sharing of public sector data


European Commission Press Release: “Negotiators from the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the Commission have reached an agreement on a revised directive that will facilitate the availability and re-use of public sector data.

Data is the fuel that drives the growth of many digital products and services. Making sure that high-quality, high-value data from publicly funded services is widely and freely available is a key factor in accelerating European innovation in highly competitive fields such as artificial intelligence requiring access to vast amounts of high-quality data.

In full compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation, the new Directive on Open Data and Public Sector Information (PSI) – which can be for example anything from anonymised personal data on household energy use to general information about national education or literacy levels – updates the framework setting out the conditions under which public sector data should be made available for re-use, with a particular focus on the increasing amounts of high-value data that is now available.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “Data is increasingly the lifeblood of today’s economy and unlocking the potential of public open data can bring significant economic benefits. The total direct economic value of public sector information and data from public undertakings is expected to increase from €52 billion in 2018 to €194 billion by 2030. With these new rules in place, we will ensure that we can make the most of this growth” 

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said: “Public sector information has already been paid for by the taxpayer. Making it more open for re-use benefits the European data economy by enabling new innovative products and services, for example based on artificial intelligence technologies. But beyond the economy, open data from the public sector is also important for our democracy and society because it increases transparency and supports a facts-based public debate.”

As part of the EU Open Data policy, rules are in place to encourage Member States to facilitate the re-use of data from the public sector with minimal or no legal, technical and financial constraints. But the digital world has changed dramatically since they were first introduced in 2003.

What do the new rules cover?

  • All public sector content that can be accessed under national access to documents rules is in principle freely available for re-use. Public sector bodies will not be able to charge more than the marginal cost for the re-use of their data, except in very limited cases. This will allow more SMEs and start-ups to enter new markets in providing data-based products and services.
  • A particular focus will be placed on high-value datasets such as statistics or geospatial data. These datasets have a high commercial potential, and can speed up the emergence of a wide variety of value-added information products and services.
  • Public service companies in the transport and utilities sector generate valuable data. The decision on whether or not their data has to be made available is covered by different national or European rules, but when their data is available for re-use, they will now be covered by the Open Data and Public Sector Information Directive. This means they will have to comply with the principles of the Directive and ensure the use of appropriate data formats and dissemination methods, while still being able to set reasonable charges to recover related costs.
  • Some public bodies strike complex data deals with private companies, which can potentially lead to public sector information being ‘locked in’. Safeguards will therefore be put in place to reinforce transparency and to limit the conclusion of agreements which could lead to exclusive re-use of public sector data by private partners.
  • More real-time data, available via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), will allow companies, especially start-ups, to develop innovative products and services, e.g. mobility apps. Publicly-funded research data is also being brought into the scope of the directive: Member States will be required to develop policies for open access to publicly funded research data while harmonised rules on re-use will be applied to all publicly-funded research data which is made accessible via repositories….(More)”.

Index: Open Data


By Alexandra Shaw, Michelle Winowatan, Andrew Young, and Stefaan Verhulst

The Living Library Index – inspired by the Harper’s Index – provides important statistics and highlights global trends in governance innovation. This installment focuses on open data and was originally published in 2018.

Value and Impact

  • The projected year at which all 28+ EU member countries will have a fully operating open data portal: 2020

  • Between 2016 and 2020, the market size of open data in Europe is expected to increase by 36.9%, and reach this value by 2020: EUR 75.7 billion

Public Views on and Use of Open Government Data

  • Number of Americans who do not trust the federal government or social media sites to protect their data: Approximately 50%

  • Key findings from The Economist Intelligence Unit report on Open Government Data Demand:

    • Percentage of respondents who say the key reason why governments open up their data is to create greater trust between the government and citizens: 70%

    • Percentage of respondents who say OGD plays an important role in improving lives of citizens: 78%

    • Percentage of respondents who say OGD helps with daily decision making especially for transportation, education, environment: 53%

    • Percentage of respondents who cite lack of awareness about OGD and its potential use and benefits as the greatest barrier to usage: 50%

    • Percentage of respondents who say they lack access to usable and relevant data: 31%

    • Percentage of respondents who think they don’t have sufficient technical skills to use open government data: 25%

    • Percentage of respondents who feel the number of OGD apps available is insufficient, indicating an opportunity for app developers: 20%

    • Percentage of respondents who say OGD has the potential to generate economic value and new business opportunity: 61%

    • Percentage of respondents who say they don’t trust governments to keep data safe, protected, and anonymized: 19%

Efforts and Involvement

  • Time that’s passed since open government advocates convened to create a set of principles for open government data – the instance that started the open data government movement: 10 years

  • Countries participating in the Open Government Partnership today: 79 OGP participating countries and 20 subnational governments

  • Percentage of “open data readiness” in Europe according to European Data Portal: 72%

    • Open data readiness consists of four indicators which are presence of policy, national coordination, licensing norms, and use of data.

  • Number of U.S. cities with Open Data portals: 27

  • Number of governments who have adopted the International Open Data Charter: 62

  • Number of non-state organizations endorsing the International Open Data Charter: 57

  • Number of countries analyzed by the Open Data Index: 94

  • Number of Latin American countries that do not have open data portals as of 2017: 4 total – Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua

  • Number of cities participating in the Open Data Census: 39

Demand for Open Data

  • Open data demand measured by frequency of open government data use according to The Economist Intelligence Unit report:

    • Australia

      • Monthly: 15% of respondents

      • Quarterly: 22% of respondents

      • Annually: 10% of respondents

    • Finland

      • Monthly: 28% of respondents

      • Quarterly: 18% of respondents

      • Annually: 20% of respondents

    •  France

      • Monthly: 27% of respondents

      • Quarterly: 17% of respondents

      • Annually: 19% of respondents

        •  
    • India

      • Monthly: 29% of respondents

      • Quarterly: 20% of respondents

      • Annually: 10% of respondents

    • Singapore

      • Monthly: 28% of respondents

      • Quarterly: 15% of respondents

      • Annually: 17% of respondents 

    • UK

      • Monthly: 23% of respondents

      • Quarterly: 21% of respondents

      • Annually: 15% of respondents

    • US

      • Monthly: 16% of respondents

      • Quarterly: 15% of respondents

      • Annually: 20% of respondents

  • Number of FOIA requests received in the US for fiscal year 2017: 818,271

  • Number of FOIA request processed in the US for fiscal year 2017: 823,222

  • Distribution of FOIA requests in 2017 among top 5 agencies with highest number of request:

    • DHS: 45%

    • DOJ: 10%

    • NARA: 7%

    • DOD: 7%

    • HHS: 4%

Examining Datasets

  • Country with highest index score according to ODB Leaders Edition: Canada (76 out of 100)

  • Country with lowest index score according to ODB Leaders Edition: Sierra Leone (22 out of 100)

  • Number of datasets open in the top 30 governments according to ODB Leaders Edition: Fewer than 1 in 5

  • Average percentage of datasets that are open in the top 30 open data governments according to ODB Leaders Edition: 19%

  • Average percentage of datasets that are open in the top 30 open data governments according to ODB Leaders Edition by sector/subject:

    • Budget: 30%

    • Companies: 13%

    • Contracts: 27%

    • Crime: 17%

    • Education: 13%

    • Elections: 17%

    • Environment: 20%

    • Health: 17%

    • Land: 7%

    • Legislation: 13%

    • Maps: 20%

    • Spending: 13%

    • Statistics: 27%

    • Trade: 23%

    • Transport: 30%

  • Percentage of countries that release data on government spending according to ODB Leaders Edition: 13%

  • Percentage of government data that is updated at regular intervals according to ODB Leaders Edition: 74%

  • Number of datasets available through:

  • Number of datasets classed as “open” in 94 places worldwide analyzed by the Open Data Index: 11%

  • Percentage of open datasets in the Caribbean, according to Open Data Census: 7%

  • Number of companies whose data is available through OpenCorporates: 158,589,950

City Open Data

  • New York City

  • Singapore

    • Number of datasets published in Singapore: 1,480

    • Percentage of datasets with standardized format: 35%

    • Percentage of datasets made as raw as possible: 25%

  • Barcelona

    • Number of datasets published in Barcelona: 443

    • Open data demand in Barcelona measured by:

      • Number of unique sessions in the month of September 2018: 5,401

    • Quality of datasets published in Barcelona according to Tim Berners Lee 5-star Open Data: 3 stars

  • London

    • Number of datasets published in London: 762

    • Number of data requests since October 2014: 325

  • Bandung

    • Number of datasets published in Bandung: 1,417

  • Buenos Aires

    • Number of datasets published in Buenos Aires: 216

  • Dubai

    • Number of datasets published in Dubai: 267

  • Melbourne

    • Number of datasets published in Melbourne: 199

Sources

  • About OGP, Open Government Partnership. 2018.  

Selling Smartness: Corporate Narratives and the Smart City as a Sociotechnical Imaginary


Jathan Sadowski and Roy Bendor in Science, Technology and Human Values: “This article argues for engaging with the smart city as a sociotechnical imaginary. By conducting a close reading of primary source material produced by the companies IBM and Cisco over a decade of work on smart urbanism, we argue that the smart city imaginary is premised in a particular narrative about urban crises and technological salvation. This narrative serves three main purposes: (1) it fits different ideas and initiatives into a coherent view of smart urbanism, (2) it sells and disseminates this version of smartness, and (3) it crowds out alternative visions and corresponding arrangements of smart urbanism.

Furthermore, we argue that IBM and Cisco construct smart urbanism as both a reactionary and visionary force, plotting a model of the near future, but one that largely reflects and reinforces existing sociopolitical systems. We conclude by suggesting that breaking IBM’s and Cisco’s discursive dominance over the smart city imaginary requires us to reimagine what smart urbanism means and create counter-narratives that open up space for alternative values, designs, and models….(More)”.

Seven design principles for using blockchain for social impact


Stefaan Verhulst at Apolitical: “2018 will probably be remembered as the bust of the blockchain hype. Yet even as crypto currencies continue to sink in value and popular interest, the potential of using blockchain technologies to achieve social ends remains important to consider but poorly understood.

In 2019, business will continue to explore blockchain for sectors as disparate as finance, agriculture, logistics and healthcare. Policymakers and social innovators should also leverage 2019 to become more sophisticated about blockchain’s real promise, limitations  and current practice.

In a recent report I prepared with Andrew Young, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, we looked at the potential risks and challenges of using blockchain for social change — or “Blockchan.ge.” A number of implementations and platforms are already demonstrating potential social impact.

The technology is now being used to address issues as varied as homelessness in New York City, the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and government corruption around the world.

In an illustration of the breadth of current experimentation, Stanford’s Center for Social Innovation recently analysed and mapped nearly 200 organisations and projects trying to create positive social change using blockchain. Likewise, the GovLab is developing a mapping of blockchange implementations across regions and topic areas; it currently contains 60 entries.

All these examples provide impressive — and hopeful — proof of concept. Yet despite the very clear potential of blockchain, there has been little systematic analysis. For what types of social impact is it best suited? Under what conditions is it most likely to lead to real social change? What challenges does blockchain face, what risks does it pose and how should these be confronted and mitigated?

These are just some of the questions our report, which builds its analysis on 10 case studies assembled through original research, seeks to address.

While the report is focused on identity management, it contains a number of lessons and insights that are applicable more generally to the subject of blockchange.

In particular, it contains seven design principles that can guide individuals or organisations considering the use of blockchain for social impact. We call these the Genesis principles, and they are outlined at the end of this article…(More)”.

The Rise of Knowledge Economics


Cesar Hidalgo at Scientific American: “Nearly 30 years ago, Paul Romer published a paper exploring the economic value of knowledge. In that paper, he argued that, unlike the classical factors of production (capital and labor), knowledge was a “non-rival good.” This meant that it could be shared infinitely, and thus, it was the only thing that could grow in per-capita terms.

Romer’s work was recently recognized with the Nobel Prize, even though it was just the beginning of a longer story. Knowledge could be infinitely shared, but did that mean it could go everywhere? Soon after Romer’s seminal paper, Adam Jaffe, Manuel Trajtenberg and Rebecca Henderson published a paper on the geographic diffusion of knowledge. Using a statistical technique called matching, they identified a “twin” for each patent (that is, a patent filed at the same time and making similar technological claims).

Then, they compared the citations received by each patent and its twin. Compared to their twins, patents received almost four more citations from other patents originating in the same city than those originating elsewhere. Romer was right in that knowledge could be infinitely shared, but also, knowledge had difficulties travelling far….

What will the study of knowledge bring us next? Will we get to a point at which we will measure Gross Domestic Knowledge as accurately as we measure Gross Domestic Product? Will we learn how to engineer knowledge diffusion? Will knowledge continue to concentrate in cities? Or will it finally break the shackles of society and spread to every corner of the world? The only thing we know for sure is that the study of knowledge is an exciting journey. The lowest hanging fruit may have already been picked, but the tree is still filled with fruits and flavors. Let’s climb it and explore….(More)”

Fostering innovation in public procurement through public private partnerships


Paper by Nunzia Carbonara in the Journal of Public Procurement: “The prevailing view in the studies on Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) is that PPPs can improve the quality and efficiency of infrastructure services and facilitates innovation in infrastructure developments. Although researchers highlight the potentiality of PPP models for stimulating innovation, they do not prove whether and in which conditions the PPP model is capable of developing innovative solutions. This paper aims to provide answers to the following key research questions: Which are the PPP features that favor innovation? How properly structure a PPP to foster innovation?

With this aim, drawing upon the main streams of studies on innovation, the authors develop a conceptual framework that identifies the PPP features that can influence the innovativeness. Second, they define how these PPP features have to be structured to foster innovation.

The authors find that a wider involvement of the private sector will increase the level of innovation. The industry structure exerts opposite forces on innovation: the dominance of large-sized firms is positively related to innovative output, whereas the market concentration negatively affects innovation. Performance-based contracts should be used in the context of PPP instead of traditional contracts. Finally, the authors find that, to fully exploit the networking effects on innovation, cooperation and trusting among partners involved in PPPs should be enhanced….(More)”.

Data Collaboration, Pooling and Hoarding under Competition Law


Paper by Bjorn Lundqvist: “In the Internet of Things era devices will monitor and collect data, whilst device producing firms will store, distribute, analyse and re-use data on a grand scale. Great deal of data analytics will be used to enable firms to understand and make use of the collected data. The infrastructure around the collected data is controlled and access to the data flow is thus restricted on technical, but also on legal grounds. Legally, the data are being obscured behind a thicket of property rights, including intellectual property rights. Therefore, there is no general “data commons” for everyone to enjoy.

If firms would like to combine data, they need to give each other access either by sharing, trading, or pooling the data. On the one hand, industry-wide pooling of data could increase efficiency of certain services, and contribute to the innovation of other services, e.g., think about self-driven cars or personalized medicine. On the other hand, firms combining business data may use the data, not to advance their services or products, but to collude, to exclude competitors or to abuse their market position. Indeed by combining their data in a pool, they can gain market power, and, hence, the ability to violate competition law. Moreover, we also see firms hoarding data from various source creating de facto data pools. This article will discuss what implications combining data in data pools by firms might have on competition, and when competition law should be applicable. It develops the idea that data pools harbour great opportunities, whilst acknowledging that there are still risks to take into consideration, and to regulate….(More)”.

Recalculating GDP for the Facebook age


Gillian Tett at the Financial Times: How big is the impact of Facebook on our lives? That question has caused plenty of hand-wringing this year, as revelations have tumbled out about the political influence of Big Tech companies.

Economists are attempting to look at this question too — but in a different way. They have been quietly trying to calculate the impact of Facebook on gross domestic product data, ie to measure what our social-media addiction is doing to economic output….

Kevin Fox, an Australian economist, thinks there is. Working with four other economists, including Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at MIT, he recently surveyed consumers to see what they would “pay” for Facebook in monetary terms, concluding conservatively that this was about $42 a month. Extrapolating this to the wider economy, he then calculated that the “value” of the social-media platform is equivalent to 0.11 per cent of US GDP. That might not sound transformational. But this week Fox presented the group’s findings at an IMF conference on the digital economy in Washington DC and argued that if Facebook activity had been counted as output in the GDP data, it would have raised the annual average US growth rate from 1.83 per cent to 1.91 per cent between 2003 and 2017. The number would rise further if you included other platforms – researchers believe that “maps” and WhatsApp are particularly important – or other services.  Take photographs.

Back in 2000, as the group points out, about 80 billion photos were taken each year at a cost of 50 cents a picture in camera and processing fees. This was recorded in GDP. Today, 1.6 trillion photos are taken each year, mostly on smartphones, for “free”, and excluded from that GDP data. What would happen if that was measured too, along with other types of digital services?

The bad news is that there is no consensus among economists on this point, and the debate is still at a very early stage. … A separate paper from Charles Hulten and Leonard Nakamura, economists at the University of Maryland and Philadelphia Fed respectively, explained another idea: a measurement known as “EGDP” or “Expanded GDP”, which incorporates “welfare” contributions from digital services. “The changes wrought by the digital revolution require changes to official statistics,” they said.

Yet another paper from Nakamura, co-written with Diane Coyle of Cambridge University, argued that we should also reconfigure the data to measure how we “spend” our time, rather than “just” how we spend our money. “To recapture welfare in the age of digitalisation, we need shadow prices, particularly of time,” they said. Meanwhile, US government number-crunchers have been trying to measure the value of “free” open-source software, such as R, Python, Julia and Java Script, concluding that if captured in statistics these would be worth about $3bn a year. Another team of government statisticians has been trying to value the data held by companies – this estimates, using one method, that Amazon’s data is currently worth $125bn, with a 35 per cent annual growth rate, while Google’s is worth $48bn, growing at 22 per cent each year. It is unlikely that these numbers – and methodologies – will become mainstream any time soon….(More)”.

Driven to safety — it’s time to pool our data


Kevin Guo at TechCrunch: “…Anyone with experience in the artificial intelligence space will tell you that quality and quantity of training data is one of the most important inputs in building real-world-functional AI. This is why today’s large technology companies continue to collect and keep detailed consumer data, despite recent public backlash. From search engines, to social media, to self driving cars, data — in some cases even more than the underlying technology itself — is what drives value in today’s technology companies.

It should be no surprise then that autonomous vehicle companies do not publicly share data, even in instances of deadly crashes. When it comes to autonomous vehicles, the public interest (making safe self-driving cars available as soon as possible) is clearly at odds with corporate interests (making as much money as possible on the technology).

We need to create industry and regulatory environments in which autonomous vehicle companies compete based upon the quality of their technology — not just upon their ability to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to collect and silo as much data as possible (yes, this is how much gathering this data costs). In today’s environment the inverse is true: autonomous car manufacturers are focusing on are gathering as many miles of data as possible, with the intention of feeding more information into their models than their competitors, all the while avoiding working together….

The complexity of this data is diverse, yet public — I am not suggesting that people hand over private, privileged data, but actively pool and combine what the cars are seeing. There’s a reason that many of the autonomous car companies are driving millions of virtual miles — they’re attempting to get as much active driving data as they can. Beyond the fact that they drove those miles, what truly makes that data something that they have to hoard? By sharing these miles, by seeing as much of the world in as much detail as possible, these companies can focus on making smarter, better autonomous vehicles and bring them to market faster.

If you’re reading this and thinking it’s deeply unfair, I encourage you to once again consider 40,000 people are preventably dying every year in America alone. If you are not compelled by the massive life-saving potential of the technology, consider that publicly licenseable self-driving data sets would accelerate innovation by removing a substantial portion of the capital barrier-to-entry in the space and increasing competition….(More)”