Automated Evaluation of Open Government Data Portals: A Case Study

Automated Evaluation of Open Government Data Portals: A Case Study

Fabiano Rodrigo Alves Nascimento (UNIRIO - Federal University of State of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Junior Cesar da Rocha (UNIRIO - Federal University of State of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Ana Cristina Bicharra Garcia (UNIRIO - Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJEGR.2018070105

Abstract

The quality of public data made available by governments is a crucial factor in achieving greater transparency and also for such data to be used effectively by society. Several models of quality evaluation of open data portals have been proposed in recent years. The vast majority of these models incorporate manual evaluation processes, which makes it time consuming and expensive to maintain a continuous evaluation of open data portals. In order to verify the reliability of the results generated by an automated evaluation model, a comparative analysis was performed between an automated model and a manual model. The results showed the degree of convergence of the quality criteria of the automated model in relation to the manual evaluation model.
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1. Introduction

Emerging from e-Business ideas in the late 1990s, e-Government was initially seen as a concept focused on exploring advances in information and communication technologies as a means of delivering services. Shortly afterwards, e-Government became a key facilitator of the transformation of the public sector to effective governance, transparency, accountability, and citizen participation in democratic processes and public policymaking (Veljković et al., 2014). The so-called Open Government (OG) represents a modern method of governance that offers a new space for openness, transparency, and ongoing dialogue between government and its citizens (Parycek & Sachs, 2010).

According to Veljković et al. (2014), transparency is a crucial ingredient of Open Government; more transparency means better governance, more efficiency, and legitimacy. Transparency can be further disseminated to the transparency of government operations, procedures, and tasks (government transparency) and transparency of government-maintained data (data transparency). The transparency of a government is a means to achieve a responsible government that measures and monitors the results of its actions and takes responsibility for the results. Allowing people to see the internal flows of government and investigating whether their representatives meet their expectations is an important step toward achieving responsible government.

Open access to government data has become a hallmark of the global open government movement. A legal framework for access to public information is one of four criteria for a government to participate in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) (Daves et al., 2016) which grew from eight member countries in its foundation in 2011 to more than 90 nowadays. The public availability of government information has been determined as a civil and human right by the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals and acts as a key strategy for assessing government accountability (Linders & Wilson, 2011)

In recent years, a number of open data movements have emerged around the world, with transparency and data reuse as two of the main objectives (Attard et al., 2015). The emergence of open data portals could in principle change the way citizens and researchers look for accountability-related data, since these portals, by definition, function as a centralized point of access to government data (Lourenço, 2015). Ideally, making this data available on the Web would lead to more transparency, participation, and innovation throughout society. However, just publishing the data on the web is not enough. To truly advance the open society, the publication platforms need to fulfill certain legal, administrative as well as technical requirements (Braunschweig et al., 2012).

The poor quality of datasets and metadata affects the discovery and consumption of data by stakeholders (Umbrich et al. 2015). Braunschweig et al. (2012) argue that most open data platforms have a lot of published data that is not readable by a machine or is in a proprietary format, which of course prevents reuse by automated tools. In a similar study, Petychakis et al. (2014) have reached the same conclusion, and further attest that the vast majority of the datasets they reviewed are published without specification of an open license.

According to Máchová et al. (2017), the extraction of valuable information coming from open government data sources requires the quality evaluation of them since the quality of data plays an essential role in the use of open data portals and a certain level of data quality is critical for Open Government Data use. Moreover, there is a need for quality evaluation to better understand quality issues in open data portals.

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