Data and Government Openness

Since 2011, I have been working to promote open government through open data and access to records, with a particular interest in how records and archives management practices can improve open government data.

As part of this work, I convened the Government Records Management and Citizens’ Access to Information Policy Lab at the Integrity Action Summer School, Central European University, Budapest, in July 2013. I led the development of the UK’s commitment on records management for its second Open Government Partnership national action plan (2013) and I convened the public meeting to draft text on information integrity for the UK’s Open Government Partnership Manifesto (2014). I was a member of the (UK) Home Office Access to Police Records Working Group (2014-2015), which was a response to the Hillsborough disaster and made recommendations on the management of police records. In 2015, I convened the Government Secrecy in the Era of Openness ACARM Symposium, 19 June 2015, Senate House, University of London, and I authored a Summit Series of blog posts for the Open Government Partnership on Information Integrity (2016).

My work in this area has also included my doctoral research in University College London’s Department of Information Studies, resulting in a thesis called Addressing Information Asymmetries in the Social Contract: An Archival-Diplomatic Approach to Open Government Data Curation, supervised by Elizabeth Shepherd, Andrew Flinn and Elizabeth Lomas. In 2018, I spoke about this research before members of the House of Lords. While a student at UCL, I worked as graduate research assistant for the multinational, interdisciplinary research project InterPARES Trust, resulting in an Open Data Literature Review.

Relevant journal articles and book chapters include:

  • Lowry, J. & Sexton, A., Open Data and Privacy, in Trust and Records in an Open Digital Environment, Stancic, H. (ed.), Routledge. Submitted.
  • Lowry, J., Assuring Authenticity in Public Sector Data:  A Case Study of the Kenya Open Data Initiative, in A Matter of Trust, Thurston, A. (ed.), University of London Press. Submitted.
  • Shepherd, E., Bunn, J., Flinn, A., Lomas, E., Brimble, S., Chorley, K., Harrison, E., Lowry, J., Page, J. & Sexton, A., Open Government Data: Critical Information Management Perspectives,Records Management Journal. 2019. 
  • Lowry, J., Opening Government: Open Data and Access to Information, in Lowry, J. & Wamukoya, J. (eds.), Integrity in Government through Records Management: Essays in Honour of Anne Thurston. Ashgate. 2014.
  • Lowry, J., Freedom of Information and Government Records in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, Archives and Manuscripts, pp. 23-32,Volume 41, Issue 1, March 2013.

Relevant conference and seminar presentations include:

  • Lowry, J. & Fernandez, C., La pensée archivistique au sein du mouvement international pour la transparence, Forum des archivistes, 3-5 April 2019, St Etienne, France.
  • Lowry, J., Algorithmic Integrity, Data Provenance and Land Use in Kenya, Data Justice, 21-22 May 2018, Cardiff, UK.
  • Invited talk on records management to the Information Commissioner and Deputy Information Commissioners of Bangladesh, 15 November 2018
  • Lowry, J., Information Asymmetry and Access to Information, invited lecture at Department of Information Studies and Library Management, East West University, 12 November 2018, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • Lowry, J., Open Archives for Historical Accountability, invited talk at Enhancing Openness of State Archives, 27-28 April 2018, Tbilisi, Georgia.
  • Lowry, J., Relating Records and Data in Open Government Data Initiatives, invited talk at The Challenges of Managing Digital Information for Measuring the Sustainable Development Goals, 20-21 April 2017, London, UK.
  • Lowry, J., Access to Information: Theoretical and Political Considerations, UCL Department of Information Studies seminar, 23 September 2015, London, UK
  • Lowry, J., Civil Society Advocacy for Records as Evidence in the Open Government Partnership Process, InterPARES Trust Research Seminar, 20 May 2015, London, UK
  • Lowry, J., Signals over Time: Data Longevity and the Kenya Open Data Portal, Technical and Field Related problems of Traditional and Electronic Archiving, 15–17 April 2015, Radenci, Slovenia 
  • Lowry, J., Evidence-based Open Government: Solutions from Norway and Spain, DLM Forum, 12–14 November 2014, Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Lihoma, P. & Lowry, J., Access Restrictions and the Surveillance of Dissent in the Malawi National Archives under the Single-Party State, Forbidden Access: Censoring Books and Archives, 6–7 November 2014, London, UK.
  • Lowry, J. & Shepherd, E., The Open Government Partnership: Implications for National Archives and Civil Society, Archives: Political Powers: Civil Society, 24thInternational Institute for Archival Science of Trieste and Maribor, 20–21 October 2014, Trieste, Italy.
  • Lowry, J., Open Government / Closed Records: Information Asymmetry in the Study of Access to Information, 6thAnnual Archival Education and Research Institute (AERI), 14–18 July 2014, University of Pittsburgh, USA.
  • Lowry, J., Open Government and Trustworthy Records: Benchmarking Regulatory Frameworks and Capacity,Accountability, Transparency and Access to Information,1stInternational Conference of the International Council on Archives, 23–24 November 2013, Brussels, Belgium
  • Lowry, J. & Thurston, A., National Archives in the Open Digital Environment, XXII Biennial Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (ESARBICA) General Conference, 3–7 June 2013, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Lowry, J., An Information Economics Approach to Analysing Government Openness, ICARUS Research Seminar, 4 December 2014, London, UK