From ‘Opening Up’ to Democratic Renewal: Deepening Public Engagement in Legislative Committees

Carolyn M. Hendriks and Adrian Kay in Government and Opposition: “Many legislatures around the world are undergoing a ‘participatory makeover’. Parliaments are hosting open days and communicating the latest parliamentary updates via websites and social media. Public activities such as these may make parliaments more informative and accessible, but much more could be done to foster meaningful democratic renewal. […]

Bridging Governments’ Borders

Robyn Scott & Lisa Witter at SSIR: “…Our research found that “disconnection” falls into five, negatively reinforcing categories in the public sector; a closer look at these categories may help policy makers see the challenge before them more clearly: 1. Disconnected Governments There is a truism in politics and government that all policy is local and […]

What does it mean to be differentially private?

Paul Francis at IAPP: “Back in June 2016, Apple announced it will use differential privacy to protect individual privacy for certain data that it collects. Though already a hot research topic for over a decade, this announcement introduced differential privacy to the broader public. Before that announcement, Google had already been using differential privacy for […]

Crowdsourcing the Charlottesville Investigation

Maurice Chammah and Simone Weichselbaum at the Marshall Project: “Of the hundreds of photos from Charlottesville, Va., that circulated online this weekend, a few seemed destined to be cited as evidence of crimes. One photo shows three men beating 20 year-old Deandre Harris with poles in a parking garage. “I have eight staples in my head, a broken […]

Gaming for Infrastructure

Nilmini Rubin & Jennifer Hara  at the Stanford Social Innovation Review: “…the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates that the United States needs $4.56 trillion to keep its deteriorating infrastructure current but only has funding to cover less than half of necessary infrastructure spending—leaving the at least country $2.0 trillion short through the next decade. Globally, […]

Can AI tools replace feds?

Derek B. Johnson at FCW: “The Heritage Foundation…is calling for increased reliance on automation and the potential creation of a “contractor cloud” offering streamlined access to private sector labor as part of its broader strategy for reorganizing the federal government. Seeking to take advantage of a united Republican government and a president who has vowed […]

Nudging and Boosting: Steering or Empowering Good Decisions

Ralph Hertwig and Till Grüne-Yanoff in Perspectives on Psychological Science: “In recent years, policy makers worldwide have begun to acknowledge the potential value of insights from psychology and behavioral economics into how people make decisions. These insights can inform the design of nonregulatory and nonmonetary policy interventions—as well as more traditional fiscal and coercive measures. To date, much […]

Crowdsourcing citizen science: exploring the tensions between paid professionals and users

Jamie Woodcock et al in the Journal of Peer Production: “This paper explores the relationship between paid labour and unpaid users within the Zooniverse, a crowdsourced citizen science platform. The platform brings together a crowd of users to categorise data for use in scientific projects. It was initially established by a small group of academics […]

Open & Shut

Harsha Devulapalli: “Welcome to Open & Shut — a new blog dedicated to exploring the opportunities and challenges of working with open data in closed societies around the world. Although we’ll be exploring questions relevant to open data practitioners worldwide, we’re particularly interested in seeing how civil society groups and actors in the Global South are using open data […]

Inside the Lab That’s Quantifying Happiness

Rowan Jacobsen at Outside: “In Mississippi, people tweet about cake and cookies an awful lot; in Colorado, it’s noodles. In Mississippi, the most-tweeted activity is eating; in Colorado, it’s running, skiing, hiking, snowboarding, and biking, in that order. In other words, the two states fall on opposite ends of the behavior spectrum. If you were to […]