ICEGOV2022: 4 insightful days and four roles – participant / attendee, author / presenter, workshop chair and Best Paper Awards nominee (part 1)

This October (2022) I had a pleasure and honor to spend four absolutely insightful days at ICEGOV2022 conference – 15th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance, which took place in a very specific place – Guimarães that is considered the birthplace of Portugal. The conference took place under the “Digital Governance for Social, Economic, and Environmental Prosperity” moto and was organized by organized by the University of Minho (Universidade do Minho) and UNU-eGOV – United Nations University.

Just to start, the conference was indeed something very special starting with the very first seconds since the conference was opened by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. 6 exceptional keynote talks were delivered during 3 days of the conference, while the last day was fully dedicated to workshops, which were 7 – one of them organized by me and my colleagues, triggered by the study I presented at ICEGOV in 2021 (although only in a virtual / online mode).

All in all, this made it exceptionally honorable to play not one, not two or even three, but four roles. In other words, I was not only a regular participant / attendee or even just an author presenting the paper, but also a workshop chair and even a Best Paper Awards nominee.

Let me start with the reflection on the paper I presented here, since it is also very special for me, considering how it was developed. In other words, it was a joint paper we wrote together with my colleague Anneke Zuiderwijk as part of my 6-months long research visit to the University of Delft, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management. Even more, it was the topic we discussed with many colleagues from TU Delft, when I was kindly invited to participate in an ICT colloquium, where we had an opportunity to talk about it (among other things such as my general research interests). Moreover, we got this paper accepted exactly at time, when my role of visiting researcher at Delft University of Technology was close to the end.

And before I will briefly elaborate on it, just to make you curious about it, let me mention that it was recognized as one of the best papers, which was nominated to ICEGOV2022 Best Paper Awards in its category. More precisely, it was in top-3 best papers among 61 papers! And although another paper got this award, we still consider it as a small victory! And citing the awards committee “the goal of ICEGOV Best Paper Awards is to acknowledge excellent research” isn’t that a win? ✌️✌️✌️

So… let me now provide a brief insight on the paper (finally). The paper itself is a reflection on the current ongoing research and is titled “Barriers to openly sharing government data: towards an open data-adapted innovation resistance theory”.

To say in a few words, the study itself aims to develop an Open Government Data-adapted Innovation Resistance Theory model to empirically identify predictors affecting public agencies’ resistance to openly sharing government data. Here we want to understand:
💡what are functional and behavioural factors that facilitate or hamper opening government data by public organizations?
💡does IRT provide a new and more complete insight compared to more traditional UTAUT and TAM? – IRT has not been applied in this domain, yet, so we are checking whether it should be considered, or rather those models we are familiar so much are the best ones?
💡and additionally – does the COVID-19 pandemic had an [obvious/significant] effect on the public agencies in terms of their readiness or resistance to openly share government data?
Based on a review of the literature on both IRT research and barriers associated with open data sharing by public agencies, we developed an initial version of the model, which was presented here at ICEGOV2022. Here I should immediately express my huge gratitude to the audience and very positive feedback I received after the session. At the same time, considering that many of these compliments came from people representing , TU Delft, I feel even more belongness to it, despite even have not been there physically during the above-mentioned stay (thanks to pandemic).

Taking a step back to the research – now, we plan to conduct exploratory interviews in multiple countries, preferably of different maturity levels (Estonia, Latvia, Netherlands, Italy (?), Belgium (?) – who else?), to refine the model. And once the model is refined, we will validate it to study the resistance of public authorities to openly sharing government data in a quantitative study.

📢📢📢 By the way, in case you are interested in this research and would like to get involved, we are now seeking for people who could conduct exploratory interviews in their countries, so in case you are such person, let us know even if your country is listed above – the interview protocol is already ready and we are about to start these interviews. The more countries will be involved, the more “universal” model we will be able to bring to this world!

In the meantime, find the paper (and cite as) -> Nikiforova A., Zuiderwijk A. (2022) Barriers to openly sharing government data: towards an open data-adapted innovation resistance theory, In 15th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV 2022). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 215–220, https://doi.org/10.1145/3560107.3560143

And just to close this post, and considering very positive impressions I had on them, let me at least list keynotes we had, since the organizers paid a very special attention to them, same as later – we as participants to their actual talks. All in all, ICEGOV2022 invited 6 keynotes we truly enjoyed – starting with the opening keynote delivered by Portuguese Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Administrative Modernisation Mário Campolargo, continuing with the following keynotes, which in many cases were later complemented with plenaries. These keynotes were very diverse in nature, more precisely – “Harnessing multilateralism for digital governance development?” by Cristina Duarte (Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa to the United Nations Secretary-General), Digital transformation across countries and continents by Tony Shannon (Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, Dublin, Ireland), “AI+X: building a transformation agenda” by Theresa A. Pardo (University at Albany (SUNY)), “What is digital humanism?” by Walter Gehr (Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs), and “Reinforcing Interoperability Policy in the EU: Interoperable Europe” by Veronica Gaffey (European Commission (DG DIGIT)). Truly massive set of high-quality keynotes!

Thank you, of Guimarães, Portugal, and, of course, organizers of ICEGOV2022 – University of Minho (Universidade do Minho) and UNU-eGOV – United Nations University!

P.S. do not forget to read another post on the workshop I had at ICEGOV2022!

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