Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Comparative Analysis of Open Data Portals in 100 Largest Cities of the U.S

Saturday, November 14, 2015 : 9:10 AM
Pearson II (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Kuang-Ting Tai and Karen Mossberger, Arizona State University
Open data—governmental information collected by public agencies that is available to the public without restrictions—has been one of the most important factors to change the dynamics between government and citizens especially when it combines with the applications of Web 2.0 technology. The open data portal which is designed to electronically transmit open data has the potential to dramatically change the conversation about how citizens access to governmental data (transparency), how citizens evaluate governmental performance (accountability), and how citizens engage in public affairs (civic engagement).

While the open data movement has been extensively dispersed worldwide and diffused from federal government to local government, the great majority of open data research mainly focus on central-governments instead the local level. The diffusion of open data in local government should not be ignored because (1) some pioneer cities actually lead the direction of this movement and (2) the implementation and impacts of open data portals can be better observed at the local level because of close connections and potential usefulness to citizens (e.g. crime data for citizens to decide where to live or how to take action in their communities).

In order to close the gap that the research of open data implementation at the local level has been scarce, this research aims to concentrate on the implementation of open data portals in those 100 largest cities of the United States. The research results show the current use of open data portals in 40 of these cities, but also variation in the information they provide and their degree of interactivity. First, logistic regression is used to observe what potential social-demographical and institutional factors influence the adoption of open data portal, including education level, council manager system, and the proportion of minority races. Second, for those cities launching open data portals, this research will analyze the openness level of each portal by establishing an evaluation framework and the potential factors associated with cities to achieving a higher level of openness. Cities operating open data portals will be classified by an evaluation framework derived from three primary principles of open government: transparency, participation, and collaboration. We consider these findings of varied forms of implementation in light of the potential of open data to promote a more transparent and accountable public administration environment with higher level of civic engagement.