Fighting Phantom Firms in the UK: From Opening Up Datasets to Reshaping Data Infrastructures?
Working paper presented at the Open Data Research Symposium at the 3rd International Open Government Data Conference in Ottawa, on May 27th 2015
15 Pages Posted: 29 May 2015
Date Written: May 27, 2015
Open data advocates and initiatives often focus on the “release”, “publication”, “disclosure” and “opening up” of pre-existing public sector datasets, and the character of this release – for example, through the use of open data licenses or legal waivers, and publication in machine readable formats.
In this paper we seek to highlight and explore other forms of intervention into the information infrastructures that underpin the production of public information, beyond the disclosure of datasets. We explore these issues with reference to a case study on recent advocacy around information about the ownership of companies in the UK, drawing on a mixture of primary data from interviews with practitioners, and secondary data from the literature, mailing list archives, policy and advocacy briefings, consultation responses, press releases, media articles, video recordings, parliamentary transcripts and official announcements.
We will conclude with a discussion of how open data advocates and initiatives might learn from this example, including thoughts on broadening the politics of public information from a focus on the disclosure of datasets to democratic interventions to reshape information infrastructures as socio-technical systems.
Keywords: open data, transparency, digital transparency, open government, information infrastructures, ANT, actor-network theory, socio-technical systems, public sector information
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation