Do We need Data Literacy? Public Perceptions Regarding Canada’s Open Data Initiative

Michelle Boychuk, Mark Cousins, Amanda Lloyd, Charlotte MacKeigan

Abstract


Open Data is a new concept that the Canadian Government is using to encourage civic engagement, to promote economic growth, and as a means of supporting transparency and accountability within the government.  Our research addresses the extent to which the Canadian Open Government initiative, specifically the publishing of open data, has impacted the general public. While emerging research on open data suggests that there is a problem with data literacy levels among citizens, it does not acknowledge the public’s opinion about the relevance of data literacy and open government to their own lives. In order to address this gap, we gathered 42 responses from an anonymous electronic survey that employed both qualitative and quantitative methods to assess the opinions of a portion of the Canadian public. We discovered that there are several factors that enable or impede the initiative’s ability to achieve its stated goals of transparency, accountability, and collaboration for the general public—the public’s data literacy levels, clarity of the data, and awareness of the initiative are a few of the most prominent. The results of the study provide further insight into the public’s opinion on open data, their perceived data literacy skills, and the impact the open data initiative has on their lives. First Place DJIM Best Article Award.


Keywords


Open Data; Data Literacy; Public Perceptions; Open Government

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5931/djim.v12i1.6449

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