The Journal of Community Informatics (http://ci-journal.net) is a focal point for the communication of research that is of interest to a global network of academics, Community Informatics practitioners and national and multi-lateral policy makers.
We invite submission of original, unpublished articles for a forthcoming special edition of the Journal that will focus on Open Data. We welcome research articles, case studies and notes from the field. All research articles will be double blind peer-reviewed. Insights and analytical perspectives from practitioners and policy makers in the form of notes from the field or case studies are also encouraged. These will not be peer-reviewed.
**Why a special issue on Open Data**
In many countries across the world, discussions, policies and developments are actively emerging around open access to government data. It is believed that opening up government data to citizens is critical for enforcing transparency and accountability within the government. Open data is also seen as holding the potential to bring about greater citizens, participation, empowering citizens to ask questions of their governments via not only the data that is made openly available but also through the interpretations that different stakeholders make of the open data. Besides advocacy for open data on grounds of democracy, it is also argued that opening government data can have significant economic potential, generating new industries and innovations.
Whilst some open government data initiatives are being led by governments, other open data projects are taking a grassroots approach, collecting and curating government data in reusable digital formats which can be used by specific communities at the grassroots and/or macro datasets that can be used/received/applied in different ways in different local/grassroots contexts. INGOs, NGOs and various civil society and community based organizations are also getting involved with open data activities, from sharing data they hold regarding aid flows, health, education, crime, land records, demographics, etc, to actively sourcing public data through freedom of information and right to information acts. The publishing of open data on the Internet can make it part of a global eco-system of data, and efforts
are underway in technology, advocacy and policy-making communities to develop standards, approaches and tools for linking and analysing these new open data resources. At the same time, there are questions surrounding the very notion of «openness» , primarily whether openness and open data have negative repercussions for particular groups of citizens in certain social, geographic, political, demographic, cultural and other grassroots contexts.
In sum then, what we find in society today is not only various practices relating to open data, but also an active shift in paradigms about access and use of information and data, and notions of ?openness? and
?information/data?. These emerging/renewed paradigms are also configuring/reconfiguring understandings and practices of community and citizenship. We therefore find it imperative to engage with crucial
questions that are emerging from these paradigm shifts as well as the related policy initiatives, programmatic action and field experiences.
**Some of the questions that we hope this special issue will explore are:**
1) How are citizens? groups, grassroots organizations, NGOs, diverse civil society associations and other public and private entities negotiating with different arms of the state to provide access to government data both in the presence and absence of official open data policies, freedom/right of information legislations and similar commitments on the part of governments?
2) What are the various models of open data that are operational in practice in different parts of the world? What are the different ways in which open data are being used by and for the grassroots and what are the impacts (positive, negative, paradoxical) of such open data for communities and groups at the grassroots?
3) Who/which actors are involved in opening up what kinds of data? What are their stakes in opening up such data and making it available for the public?
4) What are the different technologies that are being used for publishing, storing and archiving open data? What are the challenges/issues that various grassroots users and the stakeholders, experience with respect to these technologies i.e., design, scale, costs, dissemination of the open data to different publics and realizing the potential of open data?
5) What notions of openness and publicness are at work in both policies as well as initiatives concerning open data and what impacts do these notions have on grassroots? practitioners and users?
6) Following from the above, what are the implications of opening up different kinds of data for privacy, security and local level practices and information systems?
The following suggested areas of thematic focus (policy, technology, uses, impacts) give a non-exhaustive list of potential topic areas for articles or case studies. The core interest of the special issue is addressing each of these themes from, or taking into account, grassroots, local citizen and community perspectives.
A) Different policy and practice approaches to open data and open government data
B) Diverse uses of open data and their impacts
C) Technologies that are deployed for implementing open data and their implications
D) Critical assessments of stakeholders and stakes in opening up different kinds of data.
Abstracts are invited in the first instance, to be submitted by e-mail to
– Deadline for abstracts: 31st March 2011
– Deadline for complete paper submissions: 15th September 2011
– Publication date is forthcoming
Please send abstracts, in the first instance, of up to 300 words to
For information about JCI submission requirements, including author
guidelines, please visit: