Aligning Public Administrators and Citizens on and Around Open Data: An Activity Theory Approach

  • Jonathan GroffEmail author
  • Michael Baker
  • Françoise Détienne
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9752)


Open data have recently become key vectors of the implementation of open government in terms of the notion of transparency. The present study is precisely part of an EU-funded project whose aim is to develop a European platform devoted to the collective exploitation of open data. It aims to understand the processes of production and use of open data by, respectively, public administrators-(PAs) and citizen groups. On the basis of an Activity Theory analysis of focus groups involving these two sets of social actors, potential internal and external tensions are identified, with respect to objects, rules and instruments of activity. Main results showed that PAs practice a “strategically opaque transparency” policy by selecting data to open with the aim of preserving politico-economical interests, thereby limiting their reuse. We propose that interactions with citizens on the ROUTE-TA-PA platform could support PAs in publishing relevant data for users, whilst respecting these interests.


Open data Public administrations Transparency Activity theory Tensions Social platform 



This research was carried out within the EU-funded H2020 project “ROUTE-TO-PA” (, contract number 645860. We would like to thank Issy-Média for their cooperation in this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Groff
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Baker
    • 1
  • Françoise Détienne
    • 1
  1. 1.I3 (Institut Interdisciplinaire de l’Innovation), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Telecom-ParisTechUniversité Paris-SaclayParisFrance

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