An article on “What do data portals do? Tracing the politics of online devices for making data public” has just been published in Data & Policy. The piece is open access and can be found here. To accompany the article there’s a new tool - the Data Portal Explorer and data not found, “a dataset of datasets that were sought but not found on data portals around the world”. Other materials can be found here. The abstract is copied below.
The past decade has seen the rise of “data portals” as online devices for making data public. They have been accorded a prominent status in political speeches, policy documents, and official communications as sites of innovation, transparency, accountability, and participation. Drawing on research on data portals around the world, data portal software, and associated infrastructures, this paper explores three approaches for studying the social life of data portals as technopolitical devices: (a) interface analysis, (b) software analysis, and (c) metadata analysis. These three approaches contribute to the study of the social lives of data portals as dynamic, heterogeneous, and contested sites of public sector datafication. They are intended to contribute to critically assessing how participation around public sector datafication is invited and organized with portals, as well as to rethinking and recomposing them.