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Open data for accountability at times of exception: an exploratory analysis during the COVID-19 pandemic

Open data for accountability at times of exception: an exploratory analysis during the COVID-19... At exceptional times, governments are entrusted with greater authority. This creates significant concerns over governments’ transparency and accountability. This paper aims to pursue a twofold objective: assessing the patterns of open government data during the extraordinary time initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic drawing relevant policy and managerial implications regarding the future development of open data as a mechanism of accountability at times of exception.Design/methodology/approachThe study follows exploratory research, relying on a web content analysis. The empirical setting is provided by 20 Italian regional governments during the COVID-19 pandemic as a shock that has triggered an exceptional time for governments.FindingsResults on the desirable (extrinsic and intrinsic) characteristics of the data analyzed show that in the empirical setting investigated, open data does not enable to properly address the accountability concerns of a demanding forum at times of exception.Research limitations/implicationsThe paper enriches the state of the art on accountability and provides both scholars and practitioners (e.g. policymakers, managers, etc.) a current reading of data-driven orientation as a stimulus to the accountability of public administrations during exceptional times.Originality/valueThe paper investigates open data as a condition of public accountability, assessing whether and how Italian regional governments have concretely opened their data to enable their forums to elaboration of an informed opinion about their conduct during the ongoing pandemic. This fosters the understanding of how accountability is deployed in times of exception in light of the possibilities offered by the availability of online platforms. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy Emerald Publishing

Open data for accountability at times of exception: an exploratory analysis during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1750-6166
eISSN
1750-6166
DOI
10.1108/tg-06-2021-0093
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

At exceptional times, governments are entrusted with greater authority. This creates significant concerns over governments’ transparency and accountability. This paper aims to pursue a twofold objective: assessing the patterns of open government data during the extraordinary time initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic drawing relevant policy and managerial implications regarding the future development of open data as a mechanism of accountability at times of exception.Design/methodology/approachThe study follows exploratory research, relying on a web content analysis. The empirical setting is provided by 20 Italian regional governments during the COVID-19 pandemic as a shock that has triggered an exceptional time for governments.FindingsResults on the desirable (extrinsic and intrinsic) characteristics of the data analyzed show that in the empirical setting investigated, open data does not enable to properly address the accountability concerns of a demanding forum at times of exception.Research limitations/implicationsThe paper enriches the state of the art on accountability and provides both scholars and practitioners (e.g. policymakers, managers, etc.) a current reading of data-driven orientation as a stimulus to the accountability of public administrations during exceptional times.Originality/valueThe paper investigates open data as a condition of public accountability, assessing whether and how Italian regional governments have concretely opened their data to enable their forums to elaboration of an informed opinion about their conduct during the ongoing pandemic. This fosters the understanding of how accountability is deployed in times of exception in light of the possibilities offered by the availability of online platforms.

Journal

Transforming Government: People, Process and PolicyEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 6, 2022

Keywords: Accountability; Transparency; Open data; Open government; Exceptional times; COVID-19; Pandemic; Regional government; Exploratory research; Web content analysis

References