ICEGOV2022: 4 insightful days and four roles – participant / attendee, author / presenter, workshop chair and Best Paper Awards nominee (part 2)

In previous post I already shared my impressions with ICEGOV 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, providing some general insight on how it was, elaborated a bit on paper I presented there and the fact that it was nominated to the Best Paper Awards. Thus, this post I dedicate to one particular role I played, i.e. workshop chair.

If you actively follow me, you probably remember that some time ago I already posted that our workshop titled “Identification of high-value dataset determinants: is there a silver bullet?” organized by me, Charalampos Alexopoulos, Nina Rizun and Magdalena Ciesielska was accepted for ICEGOV2022. So now we finally brought it alive! Our workshop was among 7 accepted workshops, organized by such prominent organizations as UNDESA – United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, European Commission, UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and several more, which is just “wow”!

It took some time since as you might remember, the very first steps in this topic I took a year ago, i.e. this workshop is a continuation of the paper I presented at ICEGOV2021 – Towards enrichment of the open government data: a stakeholder-centered determination of High-Value Data sets for Latvia, which, in turn, was something what I did as a response to the request I received from my government, which was curious about this topic in the light of Open Data Directive (previously Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive). It was a simple one study, which was based on a survey of individual users and SME of Latvia aimed at clarifying their level of awareness about the existence of the OGD, their usage habits, as well as the overall level of satisfaction with the value of the OGD and their potential. Now the topic became even more topical, considering that even European Open Data Maturity Report is updating its methodology, as one of the new aspects including HVD. This, in turn, led to the fact that our workshop was even included in the list of upcoming events they suggest to consider and attend (see screenshots of schedule :)).

To say in a few words, in this workshop we initiated a discussion about the value of open data, and, more precisely, the concept of high value data(sets) and determinants / indicators that could allow not only identify them among existing data, but rather to identify, i.e., even if they are not previously published.

Together with our participants, we spoke about:
💡How can the “value” of open data be defined?
💡What are the current indicators for determining the value of data? Can they be used to identify valuable datasets to be opened? What are the country-specific high-value determinants (aspects)?
💡How high-value datasets can be identified? What mechanisms and/ or methods should be put in place to allow their determination?
💡Could it be there an automated way to gather information for HVD?
💡Can they be identified by third parties, e.g. researchers, enthusiasts AND potential data publishers, i.e. data owners?
💡What should be the scope of the framework?

The main point to be said on the mode of this workshop that it was a community-based, participatory, interactive workshop. Although it is clear that on the last day of the conference (the day after the official closing ceremony) all those registered for this workshop could not gather, it was still a valuable experience and we managed to have a nice event full of discussions with the participants, who got actively involved, which is especially pleasant, i.e. we managed to avoid sit-and-listen mode!!!

All in all, we had a nice event, where at least the first step in the direction we selected, were taken and some initial feedback was gathered.

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

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!

ICEGOV2022 workshop: Identification of high-value dataset determinants: is there a silver bullet?

This year the 15th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance known as ICEGOV2022 will be focused on “Digital Governance for Social, Economic, and Environmental Prosperity“. And we – me, Charalampos Alexopoulos, Nina Rizun and Magdalena Ciesielska are glad to announce our own a community-based, participatory, interactive workshop aimed at identifying High-Value Dataset (HVD) determinants towards efficient sustainability-oriented data-driven development.

Briefly about the workshop, our motivation, our objective and why we want to make you a part of it…

Today, Open Government Data (OGD) are seen as one of the trends that can potentially benefit the economy, improve the quality, efficiency, and transparency of public services, as well as transform our lives contributing to efficient sustainability-oriented data-driven development. Their scope, as well as actors who can work with them, do not meet any restrictions. In addition to “classical” benefits such as improving the quality, efficiency, and transparency of public services, they are considered drivers and promoters of Industry 4.0 and Society 5.0 [1,2], including Smart cities trends. OGD is also a driver of economic growth, and, according to [3], the open data market size in 2020 was estimated at €184 billion and it is expected to grow in the coming years reaching €199.51 and €334.21 billion in 2025. However, the achievement of these benefits is closely linked to the “value” of the data, i.e. the extent to which the data provided by public agencies are interesting, useful and valuable for their reuse, creating value for society and the economy. High data availability however can disorient users when deciding which sources are best suited to their needs [4]. The practice demonstrates that the majority of data sets available on the OGD portals are not used, where only a few datasets create value for users [5], [6]. This is also in line with Quarati and Martino [4], who provided a snapshot on the use of 15 OGD portals, based on usage indicators available. This also applies to Latvia [7,8]. In other words, in order to gain benefit from the OGD, countries should open data cleverly, where not quantity, but quality and data value must be more important, since all benefits of the OGD can only be obtained if the data are re-used and transformed to value.

Here, the concept of “high-value datasets” comes, pointing to data that would create highest value to society and economy. The concept of “high-value data” comes into force here. High-value data are defined as the data “the re-use of which is associated with important benefits for society, the environment and the economy, in particular because of their suitability for the creation of value-added services, applications and new, high-quality and decent jobs, and of the number of potential beneficiaries of the value-added services and applications based on those datasets” [9]. Although the PSI directive is a step in this direction by announcing six categories [9], they appear to be generic and do not take into account the national perspective, i.e. the nature of these data sets will depend to a large extent on the country concerned [10,11].
It is therefore important to support the identification of high-value datasets, which would enhance the interest of users of the OGD by transforming data in innovative solutions and services. The research suggests that different perspectives appear in the literature to identify “high-value datasets” and there is no consensus on the most comprehensive, so a number of activities will be taken covering these perspectives but prior identified within the workshop.

This workshop expects to raise a discussion on the identification of high-value data sets for a common understanding of how this could be done in general terms, i.e. what possible activities will lead to better understanding and clearer vision of what are the most valuable data sets for the society and economics of a particular country and how they can be identified (how? who? etc.). The topic under consideration is very important these days, given that the opening up of data sets with high potential for their use and re-use is expected to facilitate creation of new products or services with positive economic and social impact [12]. However, identifying these data is a complicated task, particularly where country-specific data sets should be identified.

This workshop is a step in this direction and is a continuation of the paper presented at ICEGOV2021 [13], where a first step in this direction was taken by conducting a survey of individual users and SME of Latvia aimed at clarifying their level of awareness about the existence of the OGD, their usage habits, as well as the overall level of satisfaction with the value of the OGD and their potential. This time we aim to develop the framework for identification of high-value datasets (and their determinants) as a result of comprehensive study conducted jointly with participants of ICEGOV. All in all, the objective of the workshop is to raise awareness of and establish a network of the major stakeholders around the HVD issue, allow each participant to think about how and whether the determination of HVD is taking place in their country and how this can be improved with the help of portal owners, data publishers, data owners and citizens. Our main motivation is that, as members of the ICEGOV community, we could jointly answer the following questions representing the objectives of the workshop:

  1. How can the “value” of open data be defined?
  2. What are the current indicators  for determining the value of data? Can they be used to identify valuable datasets to be opened? What are the country-specific high-value determinants (aspects) participants can think of?
  3. How high-value datasets can be identified? What mechanisms and/ or methods should be put in place to allow their determination? Could it be there an automated way to gather information for HVD? Can they be identified by third parties, e.g. researchers, enthusiasts AND potential data publishers, i.e. data owners?
  4. What should be the scope of the framework, i.e. who should be the target audience who should be made aware of the HVD applying this framework? public officials / servants? data owners? Intermediaries? (discussion with participants OR direction for our discussion depending on the participants and their profile).

More precisely, the following “procedure” is expected to be followed:

  • STEP 0 (conducted by participants (not mandatory)): participants are invited to get familiar with open data portals of their country (higher coverage, i.e. of more than their own country, is welcome) by inspecting the current state-of-the-art in terms of both the content – data available, functionality with particular interest of HVD determination-related features (if any) including citizen-engagement-oriented features, features allowing to track the current interest of users etc.
  • STEP 1: A brief introduction to the current state-of-the art [approximately 45 minutes]: How HVD are seen by the PSI Directive and what tasks are set for countries regarding determination and opening HVD, how countries are coping with this (both from grey literature and from personal experience on Latvia), what approaches and methods for determining HVDs are known and why is there no uniform method / framework? A brief overview of the results of a survey of individual users and small and medium-sized businesses (SME) of Latvia on their view regarding the current state of the data, i.e. in which extent they meet their needs, and what data might be useful for them, and how their availability would affect their willingness to use these data. Overview of Deloitte report on HVD. What is the methodology used? What are the indicators used? What are the results of the study?
  • STEP 2: Considering the diversity of perceptions of the term “value” (depending on the domain, actor etc.), the discussion in the form of brainstorming (idea generation) is expected to be held providing as many definitions as possible, which are then used to provide a more comprehensive definition(s) considering different perspectives (domain- and actor-related) [approximately 30-45 minutes]
  • STEP 3: Discussion on current methods / mechanisms to determine the current value of the data and determining HVD in the form of brainstorming [approximately 20-30 minutes]
  • STEP 4: Idea generation on potential methods / mechanisms to determine the current value of the data and determining HVD in the form of brainstorming [approximately 20-30 minutes]
  • STEP 5: Iterative filtering of features, methods, approaches that could constitute the framework for determination of high value datasets in the form of DELPHI-like analysis [approximately 45 minutes]
  • STEP 6: Agenda for future research, networking [approximately 30 minutes]

This is a community-based, participatory, interactive workshop aimed at engaging participants – instead of asking participants to write a paper to be later presented during the workshop in the form of sit-and-listen, we expect to establish a lively and interesting discussion of novel ideas, answering existing questions and raising new ones. The audience of the workshop is ICEGOV participants without restriction on the domain they represent, affiliation, interests, knowledge and experience. Both OGD experts and those who are not familiar with OGD are welcome.

Join us this October (4 – 7 October 2022)!

References:

  1. Bargiotti, L., De Keyzer, M., Goedertier, S., & Loutas, N. (2014). Value based prioritisation of Open Government Data investments. European Public Sector Information Platform.
  2. Bertot, J. C., McDermott, P., & Smith, T. (2012, January). Measurement of open government: Metrics and process. In 2012 45th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (pp. 2491-2499). IEEE.
  3. Directive (EU) 2019/1024 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on open data and the re-use of public sector information
  4. European Comission, The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), online, https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/digital-economy-and-society-index-desi, last accessed: 7.04.2021
  5. Gagliardi, D., Schina, L., Sarcinella, M. L., Mangialardi, G., Niglia, F., & Corallo, A. (2017). Information and communication technologies and public participation: interactive maps and value added for citizens. Government Information Quarterly, 34(1), 153-166.
  6. Huyer, E., Blank, M. (2020). Analytical Report 15: High-value datasets: understanding the perspective of data providers. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2020 doi:10.2830/363773
  7. Kampars, J., Zdravkovic, J., Stirna, J., & Grabis, J. (2020). Extending organizational capabilities with Open Data to support sustainable and dynamic business ecosystems. Software and Systems Modeling, 19(2), 371-398.
  8. Kotsev, A., Cetl, V., Dusart, J., & Mavridis, D. (2018). Data-driven Economies in Central and Eastern Europe
  9. Kucera, J., Chlapek, D., Klímek, J., & Necaský, M. (2015). Methodologies and Best Practices for Open Data Publication. In DATESO (pp. 52-64).
  10. McBride, K., Toots, M., Kalvet, T., & Krimmer, R. (2019). Turning Open Government Data into Public Value: Testing the COPS Framework for the Co-creation of OGD-Driven Public Services. In Governance Models for Creating Public Value in Open Data Initiatives (pp. 3-31). Springer, Cham.
  11. Nikiforova, A., & Lnenicka, M. (2021). A multi-perspective knowledge-driven approach for analysis of the demand side of the Open Government Data portal. Government Information Quarterly, 101622
  12. Ruijer, E., Détienne, F., Baker, M., Groff, J., & Meijer, A. J. (2020). The politics of open government data: Understanding organizational responses to pressure for more transparency. The American review of public administration, 50(3), 260-274
  13. Nikiforova, A. (2021, October). Towards enrichment of the open government data: a stakeholder-centered determination of High-Value Data sets for Latvia. In 14th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (pp. 367-372).


Editorial Board Member of Data & Policy (Cambridge University Press)

Since July 2022, I am elected by Syndicate of Cambridge University Press as an Editorial Board Member of the Cambridge University Journal Data & Policy. Data & Policy is a peer-reviewed, open access venue dedicated to the potential of data science to address important policy challenges. For more information about the goal and vision of the journal, read the Editorial Data & Policy: A new venue to study and explore policy–data interaction by Stefaan G. Verhulst, Zeynep Engin, and Jon Crowcroft. More precisely, I act as an Area Editor of “Focus on Data-driven Transformations in Policy and Governance” area (with a proud short name “Area 1“). This Area focuses on the high-level vision for philosophy, ideation, formulation and implementation of new approaches leading to paradigm shifts, innovation and efficiency gains in collective decision making processes. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Data-driven innovation in public, private and voluntary sector governance and policy-making at all levels (international; national and local): applications for real-time management, future planning, and rethinking/reframing governance and policy-making in the digital era;
  • Data and evidence-based policy-making;
  • Government-private sector-citizen interactions: data and digital power dynamics, asymmetry of information; democracy, public opinion and deliberation; citizen services;
  • Interactions between human, institutional and algorithmic decision-making processes, psychology and behaviour of decision-making;
  • Global policy-making: global existential debates on utilizing data-driven innovation with impact beyond individual institutions and states;
  • Socio-technical and cyber-physical systems, and their policy and governance implications.

The remaining areas represent more specifically the current applications, methodologies, strategies which underpin the broad aims of Data & Policy‘s vision: Area 2 “Data Technologies and Analytics for Policy and Governance“, Area 3 “Policy Frameworks, Governance and Management of Data-driven Innovations“, Area 4 “Ethics, Equity and Trust in Policy Data Interactions“, Area 5 “Algorithmic Governance“, Area 6 “Data to Tackle Global Issues and Dynamic Societal Threats“.

Editorial committees of Data & Policy (Area 1)

For the types of submission we are interested in, they are four:

  • Research articles that use rigorous methods that investigate how data science can inform or impact policy by, for example, improving situation analysis, predictions, public service design, and/or the legitimacy and/or effectiveness of policy making. Published research articles are typically reviewed by three peer reviewers: two assessing the academic or methodological rigour of the paper; and one providing an interdisciplinary or policy-specific perspective. (Approx 8,000 words in length).
  • Commentaries are shorter articles that discuss and/or problematize an issue relevant to the Data & Policy scope. Commentaries are typically reviewed by two peer reviewers. (Approx 4,000 words in length).
  • Translational articles are focused on the transfer of knowledge from research to practice and from practice to research. See our guide to writing translational papers. (Approx 6,000 words in length).
  • Replication studies examine previously published research, whether in Data & Policy or elsewhere, and report on an attempt to replicate findings.

Read more about Data & Policy and consider submitting your contribution!

Moreover, as a part of this journal, we (Data & Policy community) organize a hybrid physical-virtual format, with one-day, in-person conferences held in three regions: Asia (Hong Kong), America (Seattle) and Europe (Brussels). “Data for Policy: Ecosystems of innovation and virtual-physical interactions” conference I sincerely recommend you to consider and preferably to attend! While this is already the seventh edition of the conference, I take part in its organization for the first year, thus am especially excited and interested in its success!

Data for policy, Area Editors

In addition to its six established Standard Tracks, and reflecting its three-regions model this year, the Data for Policy 2022 conference highlights “Ecosystems of innovation and virtual-physical interactions” as its theme. Distinct geopolitical and virtual-physical ecosystems are emerging as everyday operations and important socio-economic decisions are increasingly outsourced to digital systems. For example, the US’s open market approach empowering multinational digital corporations contrasts with greater central government control in the Chinese digital ecosystem, and radically differs from Europe’s priority on individual rights, personal privacy and digital sovereignty. Other localised ecosystems are emerging around national priorities: India focuses on the domestic economy, and Russia prioritises public and national security. The Global South remains underrepresented in the global debate. The developmental trajectory for the different ecosystems will shape future governance models, democratic values, and the provision of citizen services. In an envisioned ‘metaverse’ future, boundaries between physical and virtual spaces will become even more blurred, further underlining the need to scrutinise and challenge the various systems of governance.

The Data for Policy conference series is the premier global forum for multiple disciplinary and cross-sector discussions around the theories, applications and implications of data science innovation in governance and the public sector. Its associated journal, Data & Policy, published by Cambridge University Press has quickly established itself as a major venue for publishing research in the field of data-policy interactions. Data for Policy is a non-profit initiative, registered as a community interest company in the UK, supported by sustainer partners Cambridge University Press, the Alan Turing Institute and the Office for National Statistics.

Read more about Data for Policy and become a part of it!