A new paper from Marijn Janssena, Yannis Charalabidis & Anneke Zuiderwijk, on Benefits, Adoption Barriers and Myths of Open Data and Open Government highlights the importance of governments looking beyond the simple release of data, to also address feedback loops and organisational change.
The authors argue that without attention to learning from institutional and systems theory, opening data could lead to institutional structures being reinforced, rather than leading to a transformation in the business of government. They highlight the importance of thinking about feedback systems, alongside ways of publishing data:
“The implication of the notion of feedback in systems theory is that, in opening their data, governments should not simply instigate one-way communication of their data but should expect or actively solicit feedback and be able to make sense of this feedback. The opening of systems provides the opportunity for creating feedback loops in which the government can learn from the public.”
Their analysis outlines some of the challenges that governments will need to face in developing open data engagement, but also suggests that meeting those challenges will be important if the potential of open data is to be realised.