Data purchasing by governments in the context of societal challenges: A mapping study

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This project is the first systematic effort to create an evidence base about when, how, for what purposes, and with what implications the Dutch (local) authorities resort to purchasing data from the private sector to make evidence-based decisions addressing societal challenges.

To tackle complex societal challenges, governments need to make evidence-based decisions and need the best available data as input. Much of the relevant data (e.g. user location data) is now in the hands of the private sector, which means governments increasingly resort to purchasing data from the private sector. This poses several challenges, such as data quality and lack of control, especially for local authorities with limited IT and procurement capabilities.

This project develops a unique dataset of data purchasing ‘cases’ that can be used to map the state of play as regards data purchasing. The mapping is complemented with in-depth qualitative insights from selected municipalities about their data purchasing practices. The project shines the light on a model of business-to-government data sharing that is overlooked by academic research, thus aiming to contribute novel empirical insights.

The project is funded by NWO XS Pilot Open Competition round 3 and carried out in collaboration with researchers from Utrecht University Data School.

Valuable insights for society

This project's results are valuable to government practitioners in the Netherlands (and abroad) working on data, data purchasing, and data driven policy. This research will provide an overview of the state of play of data purchasing across the different municipalities and distill lessons learnt so that best practices can be exchanged. Thereby, the project aims to contribute to fostering responsible data practices and strengthening data competences of Dutch local authorities.

If your organization is interested to participate in this research, please contact us.

Project leader