Why open government data initiatives fail to achieve their objectives: categorizing and prioritizing barriers through a global survey

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Abstract

Purpose: Existing overviews of barriers for openly sharing and using government data are often conceptual or based on a limited number of cases. Furthermore, it is unclear what categories of barriers are most obstructive for attaining open data objectives. This paper aims to categorize and prioritize barriers for openly sharing and using government data based on many existing Open Government Data Initiatives (OGDIs). Design/methodology/approach: This study analyzes 171 survey responses concerning existing OGDIs worldwide. Findings: The authors found that the most critical OGDI barrier categories concern (in order of most to least critical): functionality and support; inclusiveness; economy, policy and process; data interpretation; data quality and resources; legislation and access; and sustainability. Policymakers should prioritize solving functionality and support barriers and inclusiveness barriers because the authors found that these are the most obstructive in attaining OGDI objectives. Practical implications: The prioritization of open data barriers calls for three main actions by practitioners to reduce the barrier impact: open data portal developers should develop advanced tools to support data search, analysis, visualization, interpretation and interaction; open data experts and teachers should train potential users, and especially those currently excluded from OGDIs because of a lack of digital skills; and government agencies that provide open data should put user-centered design and the user experience central to better support open data users. Originality/value: This study contributes to the open data literature by proposing a new, empirically based barrier categorization and prioritization based a large number of existing OGDIs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTransforming Government: People, Process and Policy
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Barriers
  • Categories
  • Initiative
  • OGD
  • Open data
  • Open government data
  • Prioritization

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