Institutionalizing Open Data in Government

23 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2017

See all articles by Francois van Schalkwyk

Francois van Schalkwyk

Stellenbosch University

Michelle Willmers

University of Cape Town (UCT)

Tobias Schonwetter

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: December 1, 2016


Too little attention has been paid by the open data movement to the institutional dynamics of governments and other public agencies; nor has the research community drawn sufficient attention to the institutional dynamics at play in the implementation of open data initiatives in public agencies. It is the institutionally-attuned measurement of emerging open data practice in government that this paper explores in order to develop a deeper understanding of the barriers to change from a default position of closed to a new openness in government as an institution. Using the cases of South Africa and Kenya, the study develops and tests a set of indicators that measure the extent to which open data practice has been embedded. The findings show that open data practice is not embedded within and across the governments examined. The paper concludes that open government data initiatives will continue to hit a wall of inertia unless openness can be reconciled with those institutionalized values and norms that prevail at all levels of government.

Keywords: open data, open government data, government, institutionalization, indicators, Africa

Suggested Citation

Van Schalkwyk, Francois and Willmers, Michelle and Schonwetter, Tobias, Institutionalizing Open Data in Government (December 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Francois Van Schalkwyk (Contact Author)

Stellenbosch University ( email )

Private Bag X1
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7602
South Africa

Michelle Willmers

University of Cape Town (UCT) ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, Western Cape 7701
South Africa

Tobias Schonwetter

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Private Bag
Rondebosch 7701
South Africa

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