Opening Governance

Cover Page
Edited by: Duncan Edwards and Rosie McGee
January 2016
Volume 47 Issue 1

Open government and open data are new areas of research, advocacy and activism that have entered the governance field alongside the more established areas of transparency and accountability. In this IDS Bulletin, articles review recent scholarship to pinpoint contributions to more open, transparent, accountable and responsive governance via improved practice, projects and programmes in the context of the ideas, relationships, processes, behaviours, policy frameworks and aid funding practices of the last five years. They also discuss questions and weaknesses that limit the effectiveness and impact of this work, offer a series of definitions to help overcome conceptual ambiguities, and identify hype and euphemism. The contributions – by researchers and practitioners – approach contemporary challenges of achieving transparency, accountability and openness from a wide range of subject positions and professional and disciplinary angles. Together these articles give a sense of what has changed in this fast-moving field, and what has not – this IDS Bulletin is an invitation to all stakeholders to take stock and reflect.

The ambiguity around the ‘open’ in governance today might be helpful in that its very breadth brings in actors who would otherwise be unlikely adherents. But if the fuzzier idea of ‘open government’ or the allure of ‘open data’ displace the task of clear transparency, hard accountability and fairer distribution of power as what this is all about, then what started as an inspired movement of governance visionaries may end up merely putting a more open face on an unjust and unaccountable status quo.

Edwards Duncan, Rosie McGee
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Rosie McGee, Duncan Edwards
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Tiago Peixoto, Jonathan Fox
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Katharina Welle, Jennifer Williams, Joseph Pearce
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Miguel Loureiro, Aalia Cassim, Terence Darko, Lucas Katera, Nyambura Salome
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Elizabeth Mills
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Laura Neuman
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David Calleb Otieno, Nathaniel Kabala, Patta Scott-Villiers, Gacheke Gachihi, Diana Muthoni Ndung’u
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Christopher Wilson, Indra de Lanerolle
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Emiliano Treré
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