Access to information research in the digital era

Luscombe, Alex, and Duncan, Jamie. 2023. Access to Information Research in the Digital Era.” Canadian Public Administration. 1–9.

“In the four decades since Canada’s Access to Information Act (1983) came into force, the massive proliferation of digital technologies has prompted significant transformations in the operations of modern governments. The impacts of this digital era on access to information (ATI) research in Canada—by which we mean both research on ATI law (and its administration) as well as research using ATI law (to generate data)—have not received the scholarly attention they deserve. In this short article, we focus on describing the pervasive digital environment that Canada’s ATI system operates in and what this means for future ATI research and practice. We begin by tracing how the digitization of government has caused shifts in the administration of Canada’s ATI regime before reflecting on some of the implications of these changes for the current and future state of ATI research. A core point of contention is that the future of ATI in Canada and elsewhere is productively understood through the lens of data politics—the notion that all decisions to collect, share, or use data are intractably political (Bigo et al., 2019). We conclude by proposing several research questions that can help guide future ATI research in the era of digital government.”

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