Open data driven public accountability

Rui Pedro Lourenço, Suzanne Piotrowski, Alex Ingrams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: This paper aims to analyse extant literature on open data, distinguish and categorize the strands of public accountability research and use the results to provide better clarity in the concept of open data-driven public accountability. Design/methodology/approach: Systematic review of 135 open data articles and 155 accountability articles from the e-government reference library. A multi-stage analysis results in 12 articles which are categorized using Bovens’ (2007) accountability theory of information, discussion and consequences. Conceptual development, using the literature analysis, forms the final section of the paper. Findings: Research demonstrates that a range of open data topics has been advanced. However, just 12 articles exist that simultaneously address open data and accountability theory. Of the total 155 public accountability articles, the preponderant focus is on the information (N = 25) and discussion (N = 7) stages of the accountability process. Just one article focuses on the complete accountability process. To address this problem, the characterization of open (government) data-driven public accountability establishes conceptual crispness and clarity. Originality/value: Public accountability theory on open government has become overshadowed by social and economic value perspectives. This paper clarifies and advances the open data-driven public accountability perspective. It takes stock of public accountability research, delimits the key issues and questions and highlights the next steps needed for developing scholarship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-57
Number of pages16
JournalTransforming Government: People, Process and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Administration
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management


  • E-democracy
  • E-government
  • E-participation
  • Open data
  • Open government
  • Public accountability


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