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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S027521/1
Title: Participatory Design and Open Data Platforms for a Data Commons in Scotland: case study - waste management
Principal Investigator: Singh, Dr GM
Other Investigators:
De Paoli, Professor S Wilson, Dr AN Keenan, Mr J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Open Data Insitute (ODI) Stirling Council The Data Lab
Department: Communications, Media and Culture
Organisation: University of Stirling
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 August 2019 Ends: 31 May 2022 Value (£): 368,588
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Human-Computer Interactions Information & Knowledge Mgmt
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Environment Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 Feb 2019 Digital Economy Investigator-led Research Projects 12 February 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
How can we design technologies that go beyond simply making data publicly accessible, and instead open up data to effective, innovative and potentially transformative public use?

There is a broad consensus that the availability of digital data and communication technologies can foster economic and social well-being, as well as business innovation and productivity. Indeed, this has been a key expectation of Open Data policies since the G8 Open Data Charter of 2013. Following Open Knowledge International, the recognised definition of Open Data ensures quality and encourages compatibility between different pools of open material. It is data that anyone can access, use and share: "Knowledge is open if anyone is free to access, use, modify, and share it - subject, at most, to measures that preserve provenance and openness". Citizen empowerment is a principle driven by expectations that new technologies facilitate more responsive governments - access to, and use of, information engenders economic growth as well as creative and social fulfilment.

Research in the UK is forward-looking in terms of thinking about Open Data as a public resource for connecting communities and empowering citizens, and creating prosperity. It is hoped that the development of "transformational technologies which connect people, things and data together, in safe, smart, secure, trustworthy, and productive ways" will help foster a data economy for a Connected Nation. Although there are a few examples of excellent practice, Open Data platforms in Scotland are often characterised by an isolated, silo approach to design and implementation.

Through initial scoping research, the project team has identified three major problems resulting from this: disjointedness; single-level use design, and inconsistency. Using the everyday social issue of waste management as a case study, "Data Commons Scotland" will prototype an adaptive, learnable Open Data platform with multiple secondary applications and immediate UK-wide implications for Open Data infrastructure, to tackle these problems. In bringing together research expertise in the fields of Human Computer Interaction (HCI), digital learning and data ethics, we will develop participatory design methodologies needed to produce learnable Open Data platforms, underpinned by intentionally designed economic, social and ethical values.

Our objectives are to:

1. Design and prototype an Open Source, multi-level Open Data platform for waste management information and community engagement.

2. Develop a learning methodology for participatory design, embedding a recommender system in the platform to support user data literacy.

3. Develop a (co-)design methodology for learning platforms.

These objectives address issues relating to at least two Digital Economy Priority Themes:

Trust, identity, privacy and security. The project will operate within policy guidelines as set out in the G8 Open Data Charter (2013), the Open Data Strategy for Scotland (2015) and will be fully compliant with ICO guidance on GDPR. This project will take as its baseline principles, a number of the EPSRC's ambitions for innovative research. Amongst these, the project will deliver an Open Data prototype platform that will contribute essential understanding of human interaction with Open Data, in turn contributing to the development of a secure, collaborative, socially-aware Open Data infrastructure.

Content creation and consumption. This project will build a prototype to enable the co-creation and exchange of content for social, cultural or business purposes We will explicitly develop, through co-design research and technical standardisation, a platform for curation and distribution of Open Data on waste management. We believe that such inclusive technology will support behaviour change in a number of fields (such as circular economy or Open Energy), fostering collaborative, sustainable environmental awareness through data literacy.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.stir.ac.uk