Institute of Development Studies
May 2015 End date
The importance of intermediaries, actors who operate between citizens and their governments to strengthen responsive and accountable governance (RAG), has been widely established.
As part of this group of actors, ‘Infomediaries’, including traditional media and open data initiatives, often play a critical role in shaping both the demand and the supply of information used for RAG.
However, this function is still poorly understood. Many institutions, projects and organisations that perform this role, are not often viewed as information intermediaries, and even when infomediation is acknowledged as an important function, it rarely forms the focus of an investigation.
IDS is undertaking research to contribute to better understanding the idea of intermediation in responsive and accountable governance initiatives by investigating infomediaries’ own ideas and practices around information intermediation.
The study compares the ideas and practices of technologists with those of policy or civil society entrepreneurs to examine how different skill sets and worldviews may shape their choices.
This research aims to challenge the notion that infomediation is a neutral function, which consists of seeking to fulfil certain policy needs by enabling access to data that exists ‘out there’. Instead we hope to examine infomediation as a process of actively choosing and shaping data to make or enable others to make claims to support responsive governance
Evangelia Berdou is a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies in the Digital Development Cluster, working at the interface of information communication technologies and development.
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