Data Justice Research

Equitable Open Data Report

Since the City of Detroit launched the Open Data Portal and GO DATA policy initiative in 2015, the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition (DDJC) and Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP) have been exploring ideas and practices that promote data justice. By data justice, we mean understanding the ways in which open data - which is information and public records about government operations and services provided by the City - can be both beneficial and harmful to residents, especially to communities that have been historically criminalized.

We are excited to share these guidelines for equitable open data to advocate for the adoption and implementation of community-generated policy provisions and to outline strategies for open data stewardship that focus on access, engagement and accountability.

Explore the Equitable Open Data Report on the web, or download a PDF version.

A green graphic showing three people under an umbrella, with numbers falling from above

This work is focused on guidelines to minimize harm and maximize the benefits of open data to our communities.

Page of data with different shapes surrounding and connecting to it, indicating many sources

Our report shares the outcome of an ongoing series of participatory research projects and community education initiatives around open data.

A graphic in pink depicting an open book with non-readable text in the form of dictionary entries

The website also shares links to additional resources for a deeper understanding of equitable open data practices.

Discotechs and Opening Data Zine

The data justice work of DCTP focuses on educating residents in Detroit’s open data portal so they can then have critical conversations about open data and find ways to use open data to support grassroots organizing. As part of our education we developed a Data DiscoTech model that is traveling to each Detroit District and an opening data zine to accompany the data DiscoTechs. We are doing this work to understand the potential harms and benefits of the city’s Open Data Portal from the perspective of low income residents and community organizers. Through this research, DCTP and our partners will work with the City of Detroit’s DoIT to ensure the Open Data Executive Order considers those that are often harmed and criminalized by open data.

Our Data Bodies

DCTP is also currently engaged in a local data justice campaign as part of a two year participatory national research project, called the “Our Data Bodies Project,” housed within the New America Foundation. The O.D.B. Project is a collaboration between academics and community-based organizations to explore the meaning and experience of privacy and data flows among low income adults in three U.S. cities: Detroit, MI; Charlotte, NC; and Los Angeles, CA.

Participating organizations include:

  • DCTP
  • The Center for Community Transitions, Inc.
  • The Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN)
  • The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition
  • Attend a Data DiscoTech!

    “Data DiscoTechs” are community events that educate Detroiters about the city’s new open data portal and what data justice can look like. Read more about past DiscoTechs here and here.