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Users’ activities for using open government data – a process framework

Jonathan Robin Crusoe (Division of Information Systems, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)
Karin Ahlin (Mid Sweden University Campus Ostersund, Ostersund, Sweden)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 9 October 2019

Issue publication date: 29 November 2019




This paper aims to develop a user process framework with activities and their variations for the use of open government data (OGD) based on empirical material and previous research. OGD is interoperable data that is shared by public organisations (publishers) for anyone (users) to reuse without restrictions to create new digital products and services. The user process was roughly identified in previous research but lacks an in-depth description. This lack can hamper the ability to encourage the use and the development of related theories.


A three-stage research approach was used. First, a tentative framework was created from previous research and empirical material. This stage involved three different literature reviews, data mapping and seven interviews with OGD experts. The empirical material was analysed with inductive analysis, and previous research was integrated into the framework through concept mapping. Second, the tentative framework was reviewed by informed OGD experts. Third, the framework was finalised with additional literature reviews, eight interviews with OGD users, and a member check, including all the respondents. The framework was used to guide the data collection and as a tool in the analysis.


The user process framework covers activities and related variations, where the included phases are: start, identify, acquire, enrich and deploy. The start varies relating to the intended use of the OGD. In the identify phase, the user is exploring the accessible data to decide if the data are relevant. In the acquire phase, the user is preparing for the delivery of the data from the publisher and receiving it. In the enrich phase, the user is concocting and making something. In the final deploy phase, the user has a product or service that can be provided to end-users.

Research limitations/implications

The framework development has some limitations: the framework needs testing and development in different contexts and further verification. The implications are that the framework can help guide researchers towards relevant and essential data of the user process, be used as a point of comparison in analysis, and be used as a skeleton for more precious theories.

Practical implications

The framework has some practical implications for users, publishers and portals. It can introduce users to the user process and help them plan for the execution of it. The framework can help publishers understand how the users can work with their data and what can be expected of them. The framework can help portal owners to understand the portal’s role between users and publishers and what functionality and features they can provide to support to the user.


In previous research, no user process with an in-depth description was identified. However, several studies have given a rough recall. Thus, this research provides an in-depth description of the user process with its variations. The framework can support practice and leads to new research avenues.



Crusoe, J.R. and Ahlin, K. (2019), "Users’ activities for using open government data – a process framework", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 13 No. 3/4, pp. 213-236.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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