The Use of Open Government Data to Create
María Elena López Reyes(B)and Rikke Magnussen
Aalborg University, A.C Meyers Vænge 15, 2450, Copenhagen SV, Denmark
Abstract. The current work aims to identify the perspectives from which scholars
have studied the link between the citizens’ involvement in the use of Open Gov-
ernment Data (OGD) and the creation of social value to solve local issues in cities
as the expected result. Recent studies have concentrated on studying the barriers
and conditions of using OGD by focusing on speciﬁc types and users’ motiva-
tions. Researchers have found that the critical problem of Open Data initiatives
is the lack of utilization. Therefore, to allow more rigorous empirical research to
assess if the estimated effects of OGD are measurable, there is a need to inves-
tigate the link between the types of users and the potential type of effects, that
for this proposal is the creation of social value. The study adopted a systematic
literature review to map the most current work addressing the utilization of OGD
to create social value within different domains. Forty-six records were identiﬁed
and characterized into four categories of studies: i) Governance - the intercon-
nection of aspects that allow managing and using OGD; ii) Availability- aspects
limiting OGD access and re-use; iii) Adoption - aspects that enable the acceptance
or rejection of OGD; and iv) Impact - capacity to solve social problems. This study
reinforces the move toward decentralizing data governance and civic services.
Keywords: Open government data ·Social value creation ·Citizens’
1 Introduction and Background
Over the past decades, there has been an increase in the collaboration between citizens,
public institutions, the private sector, and knowledge institutions to facilitate the creation
of social value to solve local issues . It has been acknowledged that public services
are no longer provided only by governmental agencies but are designed and delivered
through coordination across multiple sectors . At the same time, it has become more
accepted that as “experts on themselves,” citizens take more responsibility for the services
they or their dependents receive playing a more proactive role . Align to this trend,
the Open Government Data (OGD) movement entered the global political agendas to
encourage public organizations to collect and make factual, nonperson-speciﬁc data
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Published by Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022
M. Janssen et al. (Eds.): EGOV 2022, LNCS 13391, pp. 244–257, 2022.
The Use of Open Government Data to Create Social Value 245
The Open Data philosophy’s central proposition is that data, information, and knowl-
edge become a shared asset in society, allowing anyone to use it to engage and partici-
pate in economic, social, political, and cultural projects . Data availability enables the
coalition, combination, and enhancement of data through processes and tools  that
allow the use, reuse, redistribution, and merge of available OGD with other data sources
. These processes enable the transformation of data into fact information, insight,
interface, new data, or services [7–9].
The goal of the release of OGD is to transform how governments relate to the
public by engaging citizens in using the available data . The intention is to enable
citizens to transform their community or environment; or help local governments solve
challenges by beneﬁting from their knowledge, ideas, and the ability of people to provide
surveillance . The expected effects can be of three kinds. Firstly, it can drive social
effects by creating or improving solutions to public service provision and creating social
value. Secondly, it can improve governance by raising transparency and accountability,
increasing citizen trust, and stimulating citizen participation. And thirdly, it can lead to
economic effects by driving economic development [11,12].
Speciﬁcally, using datasets related to public services and facilities can increase social
value as they offer citizens the opportunity to enhance social life quality . The use
of OGD allows citizens to share information, take part in policing and law enforcement,
analyzing and monitoring social issues and government actions, developing social inno-
vation, engaging in public services innovation or improvement, generate wealth through
the downstream use of outputs, and more generally, enhance the interaction between
government and citizens to solve local problems [10,12].
Despite the efforts to engage citizens in the use of OGD  and the rapid advances
in information and communication technology , several studies point out that the
critical problem of OGD initiatives is the lack of its utilization [6,12]. There has been
a signiﬁcant focus in the literature on studying the relationship between the utilization
of OGD and the social and technical conditions enabling or disabling its use [6,12,15,
16]. Scholars have found that the barriers and conditions to using OGD are related to the
quality of data such as metadata and readability; legislation on topics such as policy and
privacy; challenges related to the user such as lack of knowledge, lack of skills, or lack
of interest; barriers related to the infrastructure such as interoperability, availability, and
security; and ﬁnally economic challenges [6,12,15,16].
More recent studies have concentrated on the barriers and conditions of using OGD
by focusing on speciﬁc types and users’ motivations . For example, Purwanto et al.
 focused on the individual citizens’ drivers and inhibitors for engaging with the use
of OGD. However, to allow more rigorous empirical research to assess if the estimated
effects of OGD are measurable, there is a need to investigate the link between the types
of users and the potential type of effects .
In the current paper, we focus on identifying the perspectives from which scholars
have studied the link between the citizens’ involvement in using OGD and the expected
effect of the creation of social value to solve local issues in cities as an expected result.
The research question guiding this study is “what perspectives have been used to study
citizens’ involvement in using OGD when the expected effect is creating social value to
solve local issues in cities?”
246 M. E. López-Reyes and R. Magnussen
The article’s content has the following structure: The next section describes the
methodology, including a systematic literature review ; the third section presents the
content analysis results. The fourth section discusses the research ﬁndings, conclusion,
and study’s limitations. This review belongs to the European Union’s Horizon 2020
innovation program ODECO. The research focus will serve as a building block to broader
research on Open Data Ecosystems  that seeks to understand how to sustain OGD
availability and increase its use to create social value and solve local problems.
This section explains the method of the literature study performed to identify the per-
spectives used by scholars to study citizens’ involvement in using OGD. The focus has
been on understanding the effect of data used to create social value to solve local issues
in cities. The methodological approach followed was a systematic review which helps
to appraise and synthesize research evidence  and it is more reliable than other tra-
ditional reviews as it considers a transparent process to increase methodological rigor
. A ﬁve-step method described in the following paragraphs and illustrated in Fig. 1
was applied .
The ﬁrst step was to deﬁne the review process and the inclusion and exclusion criteria.
Considering the goal of this review, the keywords to perform the search were deﬁned,
as well as the set of inclusion and exclusion criteria. As this study aimed to identify
perspectives to study citizens’ involvement in using OGD, the term “open government
data” and its variations (e.g., open data, open government, public sector information,
public data, public government data, open public data) were used. The inclusion criteria
were determined as follows: Papers should be academic journal articles and conference
papers available online in full text, which are relevant to the study goal and to answer the
research question. Table 1shows the articles’ complete list of inclusion criteria to deﬁne
the relevance of the studies to be considered. Examples of relevant papers are studies
mentioning open data platforms, user needs, social effects, public value cocreation, open
government data initiatives implementation, and citizen participation. The exclusion
criteria were deﬁned by publications that are not primary studies, date outside the range
of dates from 2017 and 2022, and lack an empirical approach to study the use of OGD
when the expected outcome is to create social value to solve local issues in cities.
The second step was doing database searches and applying the selected search sting.
The search was undertaken in February 2022 using Scopus, and ACM Digital Library.
The query string used in the databases was: (“Open Government Data” OR “Open
Data” OR “public sector information” OR “public data” OR “public government data”
OR “open public data”) AND (“Social value creation” OR “Public value creation” OR
“Public Service creation” OR “Public Service innovation”) AND (“citizen use” OR “ci-
tizen engagement” OR “citizen participation” OR “citizen involvement”) AND (“local”
OR “community” OR “urban” OR “city”). The selection of the keywords was done after
reviewing the ﬁrst outcomes of the search, and to ensure that it covered all the possible
variations of the keywords.
The Use of Open Government Data to Create Social Value 247
Table 1. Inclusion criteria for selecting papers for characterization
Inclusion criteria: Studies should …
Record standard 1.Be available online in full text as part of an academic journal article
or as a conference paper
2.Be studies dating from 2017 to 2022
3.Be primary studies with empirical approaches
4.Include the keywords in the title, abstract, or keywords to ensure
that citizens’ use of OGD remains central
Citizens’ use of OGD 5.Involves citizens in the use of OGD
Open Government Data 6.Include the implementation of Open Government Data initiatives
Social value 7.Include the aim to create social value to solve local issues in cities
Fig. 1. Systematic mapping review process ﬂow diagram modiﬁed from the Preferred Reporting
Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA) ﬂowchart .
This search string allowed the identiﬁcation of studies with both focus on OGD and
the interplay of citizens and government representatives in the creation of social value.
The search allowed us to look for the keywords in the article title, abstract, keywords
list, and full text. Since OGD is a multidomain ﬁeld, the journals were not limited to one
speciﬁc area. Moreover, since the development of the OGD domain in the latest years has
signiﬁcantly increased and transformed, the search was performed by only considering
248 M. E. López-Reyes and R. Magnussen
publications from 2017 to 2022 to portray the latest developments and avoid outdated
approaches. The query resulted in 91 records in Scopus, and 14 in ACM Digital Library.
The searches resulted in a total of 105 records. The third step was the selection of the
literature sample. The ﬁrst step was to look for double items through a manual review
of the list of 105 records, which resulted in 98 unique records. Then, a screening was
performed to verify the inclusion and exclusion criteria prior deﬁned.
The document type and the availability online were veriﬁed. After removing books,
book chapters, book reviews, conference reviews lists (exclusion reason 1, 17 records),
articles dating out from 2017 to 2022 (exclusion reason 2, 4 records), and records without
an empirical approach (exclusion reason 3, 18 records), 59 were assessed for eligibility.
The screening of abstracts resulted in 24 eligible articles. A snowballing approach 
was used to complement the search resulting in 24 additional records. Figure 1summa-
rizes the literature identiﬁcation, screening, and inclusion process through the PRISMA
The last step was analyzing and categorizing the papers according to the perspective
addressed by the authors to observe citizens’ use of OGD to create social value that
solves local problems. A qualitative content analysis was performed to get results and
synthesize the reviewed studies. The extracted information was recorded and classiﬁed
using Excel worksheets. Next, the content was structured to present the ﬁndings in the
This section presents the content analysis results of the 46 identiﬁed and reviewed
records. By focusing on the question “what perspectives have been used to study users’
involvement in the utilization of OGD when the expected effect is creating social value
to solve local issues in cities?” four different categories were identiﬁed according to
the content analysis. The ﬁrst research theme encompasses studies that touches upon
a particular aspect of the OGD Governance, by studying a speciﬁc actor’s roles in the
open data ecosystem, outlining management recommendations, or proposing mecha-
nisms or evaluation methods for governance. The second theme refers to the work done
that observes aspects related to the OGD Availability. The studies that fall into this cate-
gorization focus on understanding user needs regarding the speciﬁc media to make data
available and the effects of different data collection methods and provisions. The third
theme encapsulates the research done by taking an angle referring to OGD Adoption,
mainly referring to the drivers or motives for using OGD and reﬂecting on the assessment
of its use. Finally, the fourth theme concerns understanding the OGD impact or value,
and the research is done to understand the effects or assessment mechanisms to unveil
the value of using OGD. The reviewed and categorized articles included in Table 2are
the records that met the inclusion criteria listed in Table 1. The categorization of the
identiﬁed articles is shown in Table 2.
The Use of Open Government Data to Create Social Value 249
Table 2. Overview of reviewed articles and identiﬁed research perspectives of studying the use
of OGD to create social value in cities characterized by four different themes.
Theme Authors No. studies
According to the literature, effective development, and implementation of OGD initia-
tives require structures, policies, actors, and institutions to manage, produce, access,
share, exchange, and use different types of data . In that sense, the reviewed articles
take a governance perspective on researching the use of OGD to create social value, as
they discuss the different roles that actors can play within the open data infrastructures
and the interrelations that can inﬂuence the data-driven value creation mechanisms [24,
25,28–30,34], as well as the effects of different governance models [27,32]. In some
cases, they also consider the expected outcomes like innovation  or democracy .
The discussion raised by the perspective of this group of research highlights the relevance
of the interrelation, and the interdependency between actors, communication tools, and
contexts, to succeed in the OGD service delivery and value creation. In this regard, some
studies suggest that actors’ engagement might be inﬂuenced by geographic proximity
and the effect of local contexts [27–29].
Most of the studies explored governance by taking the perspective of one of the actors
involved and considering how they shape or get shaped by the technological elements of
the OGD infrastructure. This was explored by comparing cases to propose recommen-
dations, conceptual frameworks, or models to assist the development of OGD initiatives
or programs [23,26,27,30,31,34]. For example, some studies offer theoretical mod-
els based on empirical case studies to deal with the context interdependence and allow
the emergence and development of innovation [26,32]. Some others offer conceptual
models to deepen the understanding of speciﬁc actors’ roles or democratic processes,
such as Calzada , who proposed a taxonomy of digital citizenship regimes, or Rujier
et al. , who developed a Democratic Activity Model of Open Data Use. Another
example is the research that focuses on the role of ICT developments and their effects on
the coproduction and cocreation of value within the network of stakeholders by offer-
ing insights to improve the governance models. For example, Rodríguez  focuses
on the role of e-participation technologies and the need for introducing collaborative
and participative governance models, while Zhang et al.  offer reﬂections on net-
working computing and its role in creating sustainable value, speciﬁcally in the smart
250 M. E. López-Reyes and R. Magnussen
Open data availability refers to the different elements that need to be in place so that the
public can access data without restrictions that would impede the re-use of information
. The studies included in this theme focus on analyzing three different perspectives
that would affect the channels through which data is being made available for users to
create social value. In the ﬁrst group, the authors focus on collecting data to make it
available [38,42]. A second group focuses on aspects that affect the accessibility to data
[35,36,41,44–46]. Finally, a third group focuses on the users’ needs to access it [37,
An emerging issue affecting the data availability and addressed by the ﬁrst group of
the literature identiﬁed in this theme is the integration of different data sources. In this
perspective, the authors reﬂect on cases in which the collected data comes from sensors,
crowdsourcing, or data collected by citizens [36,38,42]. The educational contexts arise
as a setting that allows exercising inclusion, addressing the skills gaps in dealing with
data, and enabling a greater observation control [38,42]. The technological resources
for automatization and data processing become relevant aspects to continuing to be
explored, especially considering citizens’ co-production of information [36,42] and the
involvement and exploitation of new data sources .
The second group of authors identiﬁed in this group addressed the accessibility
and reﬂected on the technical capabilities and channels that affect data provision and
integration mediums [41,44,46]. For example, Chatﬁeld & Reddicks  reﬂect on
how the data portals’ capabilities might differ according to the data formats, policies,
and resources. All these considerations would also deﬁne the channels, which according
to Rodríguez et al. , should contemplate transparency and citizens’ participation
inﬂuenced by demographic characteristics such as population density or educational level
within the city. On its part, Ho and Lee  bring in their observations on the problems
that arise when there are divergent geographic levels or time horizons within the data
collected, which are challenges that public ofﬁcers face when trying to augment existing
data sources. These studies provide empirical evidence and quantitative conclusions
from their analysis of open data portals [41,44] and analytical inputs for data curation
and privacy-preserving of the OGD .
The third group of authors addressing the users’ needs to access to data highlight
the display of information as a critical aspect to consider in terms of data availability.
According to some of these authors, visualization techniques are being explored to
provide citizens with the analytical tools to exploit data [35,45]. Also, in this direction,
the revised literature follows different approaches to investigate user needs, challenges,
and conditions for their individual and collective involvement, primarily focusing on the
technological channels of interaction [37,39,40,43]. For example, one of the studies
explores the accessibility of OGD portals in India by comparing them to portals in other
countries . On her part, Alizadeh et al.  analyzed participatory tools to allow
communities to be part of a deliberative process of public decision-making by using
social media as a source for improving the quality of data.
The Use of Open Government Data to Create Social Value 251
According to the reviewed literature, there is a need to understand how to drive adoption
to increase the use of data. In this context, we refer to adoption as the choices an individual
makes to accept or reject a particular innovation, and the extent to which that innovation
is integrated into the appropriate context . In that sense, the reviewed articles present
two clear paths of research. On the one hand, there is an interest in identifying the drivers
that can lead to the OGD adoption [27,30,33,48,52]. In some cases, the adoption of
OGD is studied when it is used through e-participation platforms [51,53], and in other
cases when it is used through IoT tools . On the other hand, there is also a focus
on assessing the maturity level of the open data ecosystems  and the strengths and
weaknesses of speciﬁc cases , which would ultimately inﬂuence the adoption of
Another important aspect to understand the adoption of OGD is identifying the
factors and motivators for its use. For example, one of the reviewed studies identiﬁed
adoption factors for an e-participation tool in Czech cities. The study concluded that
the innovativeness of a city or increasing the number of e-participation tools would not
necessarily increase the number of adopters. Instead, researchers suggest focusing on
contacting current adopters of participation activities to understand the possible adoption
process . For example, a study analyzing Romanian and Italian cities through a
knowledge management perspective found that the efforts to use open data concentrate
on the economy, mobility, and people . However, another study points out that one
of the reasons for not using the data is the lack of communication channels with the
platform managers. In that sense, one possible research direction could be to focus on
ﬁrst adopters to improve communication with platform managers .
Even though there has been an increase in the number of OGD initiatives, the impact
is still uncertain [60,62]. We refer to impact as the extent to which data helps “solving
problems and meet essential needs of individuals, communities or society at large” .
In that sense, most of the articles that fall into this theme take as the main challenge the
assessment of the impact that the use of OGD can bring to communities. Several of the
reviewed articles focused on assessing the impact of the use of ODG through a speciﬁc
tool [61,63,65], within a speciﬁc context [56,62,64], or by assessing a speciﬁc outcome
. For example, Allen et al.  examined the impact of citizen e-participation on
service performance, while Wilson and Cong  focused on assessing the impact of
municipal government data in nine cities across the US, and ﬁnally, Reddick et al. 
focused on assessing the performance of the government online budget transparency
portals in the US.
Another branch of research under this theme focused on the development of assess-
ment mechanisms to get conclusions about the impact of the use of OGD on creating
social value [59,60]. For example, in their work, Cabitza et al.  developed a con-
ceptual model to understand the perceived social value of real-life open data sets in the
health care domain. However, the results only provided insights on the perceptions of the
users and the results of the study give feedback on the users’ preferences regarding the
252 M. E. López-Reyes and R. Magnussen
presentation of the information, and not on the beneﬁts perse. Finally, the most recent
contribution by Gao and Janssen  combined the components of the business model
canvas and value creation conceptualization from literature to create the value model
canvas. The model creates an overview of the needs in terms of data and capabilities to
understand the value generation logic. It is important to mention that within this theme,
there has been also a focus on empirically understanding the negative effects of the use
of OGD through digital platforms, which is an emerging research direction in the Open
Data domain. That is the case of Marjanovic and Cecez-Kecmanovic  who analyzed
the negative effects of the performance data from Australian schools.
Overall, the research in this category focused on case studies or cross-case analy-
ses using quantitative and qualitative approaches. These are the ﬁrst attempts to create
conceptual frameworks and give recommendations for improving the impact of the use
of OGD. The studies suggest that more research is still missing that focuses on public
value creation  and understanding how the use of different e-governance tools can
inﬂuence complex problems affecting the involvement of multiple agencies . The
researchers also mention the lack of monitoring mechanisms to evaluate the broader
effect of the use of OGD .
4 Discussion and Conclusion
The current work presents the results of a systematic mapping review comprising 46
articles to address the question “what perspectives have been used to study citizens’
involvement in using OGD when the expected effect is creating social value to solve
local issues in cities?” This review belongs to broader research on Open Data Ecosystems
 that has the aim to provide insights that serve as a building block in the understand-
ing of the use and value of OGD on a local level. Through a content analysis, four
research perspectives of the most current research on the use of OGD were identiﬁed
These perspectives evidence the relevance of understanding the different aspects
of the interdependence within OGD infrastructure which are Governance, Availability,
Adoption, and Impact. Across the studies in all categories, there has also been special
attention to understanding the different scales in which the elements can be affected and
interrelated, such as national and local, network and individual, platform and ecosystems,
and speciﬁc tools or technology.
The research included in the Governance theme shows a growing interest in study-
ing the OGD phenomena by focusing on speciﬁc interactions, actors’ interrelations,
and the different elements intertwined in the implementation of OGD efforts, such as
individual actors and the outcomes of their interactions. One of the relevant aspects of
the Governance perspective is that it evidences the signiﬁcance of considering the role
of technology and how the mechanisms are affected by the rapidly changing digital
dynamics and technological advances.
The attention in the research studies belonging to the theme of Availability shows
the signiﬁcance of understanding the lifecycles of OGD. From OGD collection to the
mechanisms and tools to make it available until the service delivery by taking care of
the interactions and usability. This category of studies reveals an interest in creating
The Use of Open Government Data to Create Social Value 253
models and frameworks for evaluating different aspects of the implementation of an
OGD ecosystem, such as the data collection mechanisms, accessibility, and usability.
Regarding the theme of OGD Adoption, the focus on elements, speciﬁc geograph-
ical contexts, industries, or speciﬁc motivations such as transparency, corruption, par-
ticipation, or decision-making appears to be necessary to create a more empirical body
of knowledge regarding the different dimensions of evaluation and assessment for the
adoption of OGD. These aspects would ultimately affect the OGD’s potential to create
Finally, the focus on the Impact of OGD shows a more strategic perspective on
delivering value through OGD. The mechanisms and assessment tools to prove the
effectiveness of OGD in creating value appear to be an essential branch of knowledge
that requires a broader development and exploration in empirical scenarios. One crucial
aspect to consider in this regard is to be aware of the negative impact that the OGD
utilization might cause. An emergent direction for research in this category is to focus
on speciﬁc types of channels to deliver OGD and different sectors to understand and
compare results that can show the value and impact of using OGD.
The emerging research directions elucidated through the different perspectives to
investigating the use of OGD conﬁrm that the decentralization of civic services requires
new perspectives on how to plan, implement, assess, and follow up the OGD initia-
tives if the intention is to create and sustain the value that is expected to deliver. This
study reinforces the move toward decentralizing data governance and civic services by
discussing the different perspectives that emerge in the literature when focusing on the
citizens’ involvement in using OGD to create public value. This review contributes to
the gap of a holistic overview of the perspectives on using OGD to create social value.
Moreover, to sustain the Availability and value of the OGD, there is a need to address
the different barriers holistically by also considering the different domains encountered
in implementing OGD initiatives.
The review also considers some limitations as it only covers peer-reviewed journals
and conference papers from 2017 to March 2022; this could limit the perspectives present
in the literature. Another limitation is the depth of the analysis, as more layers could have
been considered, such as methods to study the use of OGD, types of use and types of
relationships, and technologies concerning the use of OGD. The identiﬁed perspectives
could be evaluated further, and future work can be developed to analyze different layers
of the perspectives.
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