AO: decolonization emerged several times - “decolonize our writing” (to make them accessible to broader publics); questioning the benefits of research and how to make research more meaningful to broader publics; copyright was a big topic - how to ensure rights holder can still have benefits but the knowledge can be availed for broader public; doing justice (making data human; ensuring that “data subjects” have “dignity”).
TM: Panel 1 talked of this in a stand out manner by rasing the question: who do we create this data for? Is data created for a select few who went to University? As such the subject of packaging data in a manner that is accessible and consumable for all through initiatives that encourage public engagment as is done at Ukombozi Library stands out for me.
PC: A key tension I see here is between open / universalized / decontextualized (typically quantitative or at the least, digital) data, and localized, particular, (often qualitative but not always) data. Open data on the one hand allows for effective data sharing, easier access to data for otherwise marginal populations, the ability to critique/monitor those in power… On the other hand, universalized data opens up populations to observation by powerful, external actors. That data is easy to port and therefore can easily be sold and used… Localized and particular data infrastructures keeps knowledge within the community (and therefore within community control), but also siloes information… A core concern here then is power… Grace makes the point down the line that there is a “huge asymmetry between the people who produce the information and the people who analyze the data.”
AO: This UNDP report illustrates the positioning of "data" within development discourse as a means towards "progress". In the wake of widespread consensus that Development with a big D a la 1980s did not work, (government open) data is now increasingly positioned as a means towards "sustainable development." In other words, it is imperative to track such progress and data is the key tracking such progress (towards national and SDGs).
The report highlights that the pending issue is: "how to transform the data revolution into a sustainable devel- opment revolution, with accelerating progress towards ending poverty, ameliorating inequality, catalyzing social inclusion and combating climate change."