About Me

Ismael Peña-López
This photo by Danny Gys.
Header photo by Stuart Yeates at the Bazaar Seminar

I am Ismael Peña-López.

I am Director of the School of Public Administration of Catalonia.

I was Director General of Citizen Participation and Electoral Processes at the Government of Catalonia (2018-2021) and professor at the School of Law and Political Science of the Open University of Catalonia (2005-2018).
I have also been senior researcher at Open Evidence and fellow director of Open Innovation at Fundació Jaume Bofill.

I hold a PhD in the Information and Knowledge Society and I work in the field of Public Policies for Development, with a special focus on ICT (so, ICT4D, digital divide and so) and quite a social sciences multidisciplinary approach: economics, sociology, political science, pedagogy… This site, that began as a blog, has become my personal research portal, and is intended to openly share information, scientific production and personal reflections on the preceding topics.



I amb research group coordinator and senior researcher at Open Evidence, a Catalan Government recognized consolidated group (2017 SGR 1679).

My research interests and my research projects deal with the impact of Information and Communication Technologies in development. To do that I focus in two fields and two sub-fields:

  1. Measurement of the evolution of digital economies and personal digital uptake. In other words, e-readiness and the digital divide. Within this field, I especially look into how are differences created and how can these differences be bridged. Topics that I work with include Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), e-Inclusion, digital capacitation, ICTs in development cooperation, nonprofit technology (nptech) or online volunteering.
  2. Analysis of the impact of ICTs in development and its main institutions. I’d rather focus on what shapes subjective and effective choices (education, democracy) than on objective choice (health, economics). In other words, I try to stay on what relates to ICTs and empowerment and governance:

    1. ICTs and Education: how the digitization of content and communications is transforming the way knowledge is transferred and the institutions we built for that purpose. Some topics include e-learning, e-portfolios, personal learning environments (PLE), open educational resources (OER), education 2.0…
    2. ICTs and Democracy: how the digitization of content and communications is transforming the way collective decisions are made and the institutions we built for that purpose. Some topics include e-government, open government and open data, electronic voting, social movements fostered by ICTs, technopolitics, politics 2.0…


My teaching usually deals with the intersection of ICTs and other disciplines, usually Law, Political Science and Education.


Most of my work about these subjects has been uploaded onto this site (translated or in the original language). Hence, I invite you to browse the works section to see what I’ve written and said.


In previous life I was a founding member and former Director of the Cooperation for Development Programme at the University, which is how this whole thing began.

Every now and then, I also write about ICTs and journalism in Reflexions sobre periodisme, comunicació i cultura [Catalan], blog of the Fundació ESCACC.

I am too the (so far) only developer of the free software project BibCiter, a PHP+MySQL based bibliographic manager. I’m not a developer, so the code is not pretty good… but, hey, it looks cute at work, doesn’t it?. I used to be part of the WordPress in catalan team.

I live near Barcelona, but I can usually be found here. My mother tongues are Catalan and Spanish, and I also speak English, French und ein bißchen German. I took a course and a half of Arabic, but had to leave it aside (not forever, I hope). I used to paraglide and play tenor sax — not at the same time (yet): now I raise two kids instead (a change for good ;), am involved in civic activism and do quite a lot of pro bono stuff in my field of expertise.

Of course, the contents on this site express my own opinion and not necessary my University’s.

Feel free to contact me if you feel like it.