The impact of open government data on accountability and transparency

Stuti Saxena (Department of Political Science, Central University of Haryana, Mahendragarh, India)
Irfan Muhammad (Commerce and Management Sciences, University of Malakand, Chakdara, Pakistan)

Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences

ISSN: 1026-4116

Publication date: 9 October 2018

Abstract

Purpose

Accountability, citizen participation and transparency are the three pillars on which open government data (OGD) is based. As such, OGD implies that the government shall provide data freely via the internet so that the same may be re-used for diverse purposes. It is hoped that by re-using government data, public value shall be co-created and government services might be improved upon with the involvement of different stakeholders. The purpose of this paper is to underline the impact of OGD on accountability and transparency in the context of Pakistan where OGD initiative is taking roots for quite some time now. In the present study, the authors seek to investigate the challenges being faced by the professionals in the private sector and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) in Pakistan. Besides, the authors also seek inputs from the respondents in the manner in which OGD initiative of Pakistan has impact on ensuring accountability and transparency.

Design/methodology/approach

For conducting the review of the national OGD portal of Pakistan, the authors invoke documentary analysis wherein the authors investigate the features of the national OGD portal of Pakistan. Furthermore, the authors conducted structured interviews with 49 senior management representatives from private sector and NGOs in order to gauge the challenges encountered by them in tapping OGD from diverse online public sources.

Findings

Respondents aver that robust statistical analysis is not feasible via the data sets being shared by the online sources. More initiatives are required on the part of the government bodies to release the data sets which have remained confined in silos. Government should institutionalize an OGD policy and promote the re-use of OGD by the professionals from diverse backgrounds. At present, only educational data are being shared by the OGD portal of Pakistan and it is important that more data sets are being released in the public domain. Furthermore, the respondents perceive that in a bid to be more accountable and transparent, the government bodies should release data sets via the online channels which are user-friendly.

Research limitations/implications

The present study conducted a qualitative research where the number of respondents was relatively less. Further research is required by adopting quantitative approach in order to accommodate more respondents and lend reliability to the study. Nevertheless, the study holds implications for academicians and practitioners in the sense that while it is needed that further research be conducted on the OGD initiative of Pakistan, it is imperative that policy makers get involved in institutionalizing the OGD initiative of Pakistan at national and local levels.

Social implications

Professionals might be better involved in creating and co-creating products and services by tapping OGD.

Originality/value

Given that OGD initiative in Pakistan is in a nascent stage and research is wanting in exploring the nature and scope of Pakistan’s OGD, the present study seeks to contribute toward the existing OGD literature.

Keywords

Citation

Saxena, S. and Muhammad, I. (2018), "The impact of open government data on accountability and transparency", Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 204-216. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEAS-05-2017-0044

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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