Relevant social groups for open data use and engagement


Work data:

ISSN: 0740-624X

Type of work: Article (academic)


e-Government & e-Administration | Open Access


new intermediaries, open data


The opening up of public sector data has provided a new data resource for the citizens. However, the use of open data and its consequent societal value has proved not to be as extensive as initially hoped for, although multiple innovations have emerged; rather it is still considered problematic, and knowledge about open data use is scarce. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to clarify open data use and engagement by people outside the public sector, especially what motives exists and how different user types align to these motives. To achieve this, a document analysis has been carried out of reported use cases identified in EU topic reports between 2014 and 2016. By applying the theory of Relevant Social Groups (RSG), which focuses on the people's interpretation of the purpose with the technology, we identified five RSGs representing overall motives for open data use: 1) Exploring for creativity, 2) Creating business value, 3) Enabling local citizen value, 4) Addressing global societal challenges, and 5) Advocating the open data agenda. We also discuss differences between the relevant social groups and the included user types, issues and implications for understanding the evolvement of the open data field, and suggests research ahead.