Countries, states & cities across the globe are embracing the idea of 'open data': establishing platforms, portals and projects to share government managed data online for re-use. Yet, right now, the anticipated civic impacts of open data rarely materialise, and the gap between the promise and the reality of open data remains wide. This talk, drawing on a series of empirical studies of open data around the world, will question the ways in which changing regimes around data can reconfigure power and politics, and will explore the limits of current practice. It will consider opportunities to re-imagine the open data project, not merely as one of placing datasets online, but as one that can positively reshape the knowledge infrastructures of civic life.
Tim Davies is a social researcher with interests in civic participation and civic technologies. He has spent the last five years focussing on the development of the open government data landscape around the world, from his MSc work at the Oxford Internet Institute on Data and Democracy, the first major study of data.gov.uk, through to leading a 12-country study on the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries for the World Wide Web Foundation.
Tim is working on his PhD on the interaction of technical infrastructures and public policies in shaping the outcomes of open data initiatives in the Web Science Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Southampton, and was a 2013/14 fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He also co-directs Practical Participation, an independent consultancy working on participation, organisational change, community development and social technology, through which he recently led the development of the 360Giving standards for philanthropic open data in the UK.