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“Usage by stakeholders” as the objective of “transparency-by-design” in open government data: Case study of Sri Lanka’s open data initiative

Stuti Saxena (Central University of Haryana, Mahendragarh, India)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




While “transparency-by-design” serves as the antecedent of any Open Government Data (OGD) initiative (Janssen et al., 2017), its logical objective would be the extent to which data “usage” is facilitated. This paper aims to underscore the significance, drivers and barriers to ensure “usage” of data sets conceding that re-use of data sets is one of the key objectives of any OGD initiative.


With a documentary analysis approach, the OGD initiative of Sri Lanka is investigated for the present purpose. Furthermore, the theoretical model of citizen engagement in OGD suggested by Sieber and Johnson (2015) is being referred to appreciate the extent to which the usage of data sets is facilitated via the OGD platform.


There are drivers as well as barriers as far as facilitating the usage of the data sets in the Sri Lankan OGD initiative is concerned. For instance, some of the drivers are the provision of suggesting data sets or the possibility of referring to data sets which are historical in nature. However, there are countless barriers to usage than the drivers. For instance, there is absence of metadata in the data sets; the data sets are not updated regularly; there are historical data; the formats of the data sets are limited in nature and are not user-friendly; there is no facility of conducting data visualization or analytics, and there is no collaborative approach towards building further the OGD initiative.

Research limitations/implications

As only one case study is probed in the paper, further research is warranted to undertake a comparative approach by taking two or more case studies into consideration.

Practical implications

This study holds relevance for Sri Lankan Government and other stakeholders (policy makers, citizens, developers and the like) so far as furthering of user engagement in OGD initiative is concerned.

Social implications

Facilitating more usage by citizens would increase their engagement, and they might derive value out of the data sets. At the same time, the government’s objective of ensuring increased usage of the data sets would be better realized.


“Transparency-by-design” approach had its focus on the publishing phase of OGD, and this paper seeks to provide its logical conclusion by emphasizing upon “usage by stakeholders” because by opening data sets, the government has the target to ensure that these open data sets are being used and re-used. Therefore, it is the outcome which is being discussed with the support of a case study set in the background of Sri Lanka’s Open Data initiative. Besides, this is the first study which probes the OGD initiatives of Sri Lanka – therein lies the major contribution of the study.



Saxena, S. (2017), "“Usage by stakeholders” as the objective of “transparency-by-design” in open government data: Case study of Sri Lanka’s open data initiative", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 118 No. 7/8, pp. 420-432.



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