Open Government Data in a Datafied City

Our interactions with our cities are increasingly becoming digital, from the personal data we provide when filling in a form or using a service to advanced real-time technologies collecting data through IoT sensors, CCTV cameras, or any other technology that is part of the digital city infrastructures [1] . This trend is what we know as the fourth industrial revolution, which grounds its advancements in the abundance of data and the datafication of our lifestyles [2] . It has been considered key to enabling significant improvements in competitiveness and, more recently, a critical driver to solving social and sustainability challenges [3] . In this context, governments are challenged to manage extensive
amounts of new data, often collected and stored using public funds. When public authorities collect data, this also belongs to the government [4] . This brings a critical discussion over who owns this data and who benefits from it. This is where the role of Open Government Data becomes significantly relevant [5] .


The concept of Open Government Data emerged in 2008 [6] from a working group that reunited 30 members of the Open Government Group (http://resource. org/8_principles.html). The meeting, which was held in the United States, included open data advocates such as Tim O’Reilly, Lawrence Lessig, and Aaron Swartz. The working group's purpose was to develop open data principles that could
drive citizen involvement in the management, curation, and use of government data [7] . Open Government Data can be defined as “non-privacy-restricted and non-confidential data produced with public money and made available without any restrictions on its usage or distribution” [8] .

The process for opening government data can be divided into four basic steps. During the first phase, government agencies and publicly funded research organizations produce, collect, and integrate large amounts of data to fulfill their daily tasks. For example, the Ministry of Justice collects data about the number of crime victims to create its crime prevention policies. In the second stage, public agencies and publicly funded research organizations decide whether to open or make their data available on the internet. This step is often referred to as data publication and is the possibility of accessing data
through governmental organization websites, national portals, or different combinations of relevant portals. These portals are the tools through which potential data users can search open government data, which is the third step of the process. Finally, when the data is found, the users should be able to download the data to work with it by cleansing, analyzing, visualizing, enriching, combining, and linking it [9] .

The potential benefits of opening government data have been long discussed. These can be of three kinds. First, they could drive social effects by creating or improving solutions to public service provision and creating social value. Secondly, they could improve governance by raising transparency and accountability, increasing citizen trust, and stimulating citizen participation. And thirdly, they could lead to economic effects by driving economic development [10] . However, despite the efforts to make government data openly available, its promised benefits still need to be evidenced. The problem is that no matter the number of published datasets, they only create value if they are used [8] . To
understand how to improve the processes to make them available as well as drive the motivation to use them, it is necessary to define and identify the value that they can bring. Along those lines, the project of maximizing the availability and reuse of local government data (ESR6) will focus on understanding the type of value that the reuse of local open government data can create, whether the local citizenry perceives value and whether local governments can deliver it. The research will focus on open data efforts implemented in European cities such as Copenhagen and Rotterdam. The results will be communicated through the ODECO project channels to follow up on this research.

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[9] B. Van Loenen, “Access, sharing and reuse concepts and legislation.,” presented at the ToDo Education, Mar. 25, 2020. [Online]. Available:
[10] M. E. López Reyes and R. Magnussen, “The Use of Open Government Data to Create Social Value,” in Electronic Government, vol. 13391, M. Janssen, C. Csáki, I. Lindgren, E. Loukis, U. Melin, G. Viale Pereira, M. P. Rodríguez Bolívar, and E. Tambouris, Eds. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2022, pp. 244–257. doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-15086-9_16.


María Elena López Reyes (ESR2)

Department of Communication and Psychology,

Aalborg University