Open data adoption in Australian government agencies: an exploratory study

Mohammad Alamgir Hossain, School of Business IT and Logistics, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
Caroline Chan, School of Business IT and Logistics, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia


Australia is among the leading countries that envisaged releasing unclassified public data under open license and reusable format with no further restriction on re/use. But, according to the Australian Information Commissioner John McMillan, Australia’s progress on open data is ‘patchy’ and ‘transitional’. He also evidenced that although a few agencies are proactive and have embraced the movements quite seriously, still there are “many obstacles that worked against effort to make government information and data discoverable and usable” (Hilvert 2013). Despondently, there is little empirical evidence that could explain what makes public departments not to release public data. Driven by the nature of the research, this study conducted an exploratory field study in Australia by interviewing eleven employees from six different government agencies. Applying content analysis technique, this study identifies six important antecedents to adoption of open data in public organisations, and proposes future research to test their relationships. As the main theoretical contribution, this study extends organisational behaviour toward technology diffusion. The findings of this study incite policymakers and managers to think about and prepare future strategies on open data developments.