CAREER: Improving the Reuse of Open Data
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This CAREER project identifies solutions for improving the reuse of open
data and assesses the demand for open government data. The research
project models the open data user experience to clarify assumptions about
who uses open data, what they find relevant, and their level of data
literacy. Assessment tools are essential for evaluating open data
investments. Years of congressional legislation and administrative
projects have created a steady supply of spreadsheets, transaction logs,
semi-structured documents, and other digital files released as open data.
As public life increasingly depends on inferences made from data, an
investigation into data literacy supports NSF's mission to advance
national health, prosperity, and welfare. The findings in an open
government context promote the progress of science and may be generalized
to open research and open science projects.
The project examines the flow of open data from suppliers to consumers in
a data supply chain. Three empirical studies reflect open government data
projects at different stages of maturity. The studies demonstrate
relationships between digital material and data science practice.
Inductive social science inquiry and ethnographically-informed deductive
research validate the findings. The empirical evidence closes a gap in
knowledge about data reuse and advances theory in the emerging field of
data usability. Outreach activities are designed to include professionals
who may not be educated in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM)
but who could make valuable contributions to data-driven projects. The
education plan is devoted to advancing data literacy in the classroom and
in the workforce. The interdisciplinary foundations of this project are
part of a broader conversation on the integrity of data science practices.