Date added: February 22, 2017Download - 992KB
This report highlights the ideas and practices that underlie the work of crowdsourcing intermediaries: actors who collect and analyse citizen feedback using digital platforms, and use it to support positive change. Most studies of crowdsourcing initiatives in the transparency and accountability field are primarily concerned with representation (whose voice is being heard?) and impact (what kind of change is being supported?). By contrast, this study shifts the spotlight onto crowdsourcing intermediaries themselves, their motives, and their theories of change and action.
The research used an original conceptual framework that combines ideas from the governance and social accountability fields with networked gatekeeping theory. According to this framework, crowdsourcing intermediaries are gatekeepers of citizen voice who can shape and therefore control many different aspects of the flow of information generated by contributors.
The picture that emerges from the research, which combined content analysis of website text with qualitative case studies, reveals a great deal of fluidity and experimentation in the way that crowdsourcing is defined and used as part of the political strategies of crowdsourcing intermediaries. Equally varied were the roles and relationships that crowdsourcing intermediaries engaged in as collectors and analysts of citizen feedback.
A key finding is that in crowdsourcing initiatives, it is difficult to distinguish between the interpretive aspects of intermediation, which comprise the collection and analysis of citizen feedback, and political aspects of intermediation, which involve using the collected information to support positive change. Put more simply, crowdsourced information is inherently political.
Key themes in this paper are:
- the role of crowdsourcing intermediaries as gatekeepers of citizen-generated data
- the accountability of crowdsourcing intermediaries to citizens who contribute data, especially in terms of data policies
- the factors that influence the pathways of individual crowdsourcing intermediaries.
About this publication
Publication type Research report
Publication year 2017
Page length 32 pages
Keywords data ethics, transparency and accountability initiativesDownload - 992KB
Theme Citizen engagement and voice Citizen-generated data Civil society monitoring Crowdsourcing Infomediaries Intermediaries Online crowdsourcing platforms Technologies for transparency and accountability
More on these themes
BLOG | December 13, 2017
Supporting local learning and adaptation – Unpacking the effectiveness of…
BLOG | December 11, 2017
Learning how to go local: Lessons from six learning journeys,…
NEWS | November 16, 2017
Trac FM: Increasing effectiveness and government response to CSO campaigns…
NEWS | November 16, 2017
MOPA: How an app generates data that help clean-up Maputo
NEWS | November 15, 2017
LENGGO: Public budget tracking holds Kenyan county governments to account
BLOG | November 14, 2017
Citizen accountability in a time of Facebook
NEWS | October 23, 2017
Oil Journey: Following the money from oil revenue to improve…
NEWS | October 20, 2017
TIMBY: Evidence-based reporting of environmental crimes in Liberia
BLOG | October 9, 2017
Anjali Nayar: A storyteller that innovates for social change
PUBLICATION | September 29, 2017
Innovations to engage youth in accountability work in Liberia