Open Government Data as a Reform and Ecosystem : A conceptual framework for evolution and health
Abstract: Introduction: This doctoral thesis in Information Systems untangles the interplay of an OGD reform and an OGD ecosystem. Open government data (OGD) refers to data shared by public organizations, in the role of providers, following certain principles for anyone to reuse. An OGD reform transforms parts of society so that an OGD ecosystem can coalesce and realize benefits (e.g., economic growth or transparency). An OGD ecosystem consists of providers sharing data, enrichers developing products or services on this data, and seekers using the data, products, or services to satisfy their needs.Problem and Purpose: Previous OGD research tends to encompass an OGD reform into an OGD ecosystem, which can restrict the possibilities to understand the evolution and health of an OGD ecosystem. Because, an OGD reform is a temporary transformation, while an OGD ecosystem includes sustained processes for a purpose. It obfuscates the possible interplay between an OGD reform and an OGD ecosystem, which could afflict the health of the ecosystem. Health is an OGD ecosystem’s ability to achieve its higher purpose while benefiting its actors without harming others. Reform and evolution are related since both refer to the change of actors. The purpose of my doctoral thesis is to untangle the interplay between an OGD reform and an OGD ecosystem to understand how it can impact the health of an OGD ecosystem.Research Design: I set out to explore the Swedish OGD ecosystem from 2016 to 2019. The research expanded to international explorations between 2019 and 2021. My research is qualitative and encompasses an introductory part and five articles. The papers include (1) a comparison between two providers, (2) an enricher framework, (3) diagnosis of the Swedish OGD ecosystem, (4) lessons drawn from public utilities, and (5) how providers and enrichers can consider seekers in their work. I then revisited my empirical material to perform additional analysis to synthesize a conceptual framework called reform-ecosystem (RE-ECO) framework.Findings: The RE-ECO framework depicts the interplay between an OGD reform and an OGD ecosystem and how it could afflict the ecosystem's health. An OGD reform is conceptualized as a checkerboard and an OGD ecosystem as an ocean ecosystem. OGD actors transform a reciprocal structure to coalesce an OGD ecosystem through persuasion, collaboration, transformation, and evaluation. The OGD ecosystem consists of strands of data-information cycles and identification nodes, which work to realize certain benefits. The OGD actors can transform local conditions, step between ecosystems, and mutation load to afflict the health of an OGD ecosystem.Contribution: The theoretical contribution of this doctoral thesis is the RE-ECO framework. The thesis also concludes that an OGD ecosystem is an ancillary, symbiotic ecosystem; mutation loading can control and fuel the change of actors; OGD actors can step between an OGD reform, an OGD ecosystem, and other ecosystems; the landscape metaphor reveals how an OGD reform can constrain the health of an OGD ecosystem; and actors can experience tensions between an OGD reform and an OGD ecosystem. OGD researchers are suggested to further study the interplay between an OGD reform and an OGD ecosystem. OGD practitioners should follow ``high-value, high-impact'' and ``publish with purpose'' principles rather than ``open by default'' or ``raw data now'' principles.
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