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The story of the sixth myth of open data and open government

Ann-Sofie Hellberg (Department of Informatics Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden)
Karin Hedström (Business School & Department of Management and Engineering, Örebro University & Linköping University, Örebro & Linköping, Sweden)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 16 March 2015




The aim of this paper is to describe a local government effort to realise an open government agenda. This is done using a storytelling approach.


The empirical data are based on a case study. The authors participated in, as well as followed, the process of realising an open government agenda on a local level, where citizens were invited to use open public data as the basis for developing apps and external Web solutions. Based on an interpretative tradition, they chose storytelling as a way to scrutinise the competition process. In this paper, they present a story about the competition process using the story elements put forward by Kendall and Kendall (2012).


The research builds on existing research by proposing the myth that the “public” wants to make use of open data. The authors provide empirical insights into the challenge of gaining benefits from open public data. In particular, they illustrate the difficulties in getting citizens interested in using open public data. Their case shows that people seem to like the idea of open public data, but do not necessarily participate actively in the data reuse process.

Research limitations/implications

The results are based on one empirical study. Further research is, therefore, needed. The authors would especially welcome more studies that focus on citizens’ interest and willingness to reuse open public data.

Practical implications

This study illustrates the difficulties of promoting the reuse of open public data. Public organisations that want to pursue an open government agenda can use these findings as empirical insights.


This paper answers the call for more empirical studies on public open data. Furthermore, it problematises the “myth” of public interest in the reuse of open public data.



The present research has been funded by Örebro University Research School of Public Affairs and VINNOVA, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems.


Hellberg, A.-S. and Hedström, K. (2015), "The story of the sixth myth of open data and open government", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 35-51.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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