General e-Democracy & e-Participation track

The General e-Democracy & e-Participation track aims to present recent developments in electronic participation and digital engagement covering all relevant technical, political and social aspects.

E-democracy and e-participation and are multidisciplinary fields of study. They are particularly timely and relevant in various contexts focusing on issues such as participatory public service design engagement, open government data, social media interactions, engagement in co-design and co-delivery of services and top-down and bottom-up initiatives related to economic, societal, public and welfare issues.

This is a multi-disciplinary track that aims to bring together researchers from disciplines in order to present and discuss topics related to e-participation and e-democracy, discuss new ideas, meet other researchers and practitioners, and to facilitate future collaborations. We welcome theoretical papers, qualitative and quantitative papers, case studies, critical analyses, and encourage authors to address challenges that can lead to further developments in this area.

Areas of focus and interest include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Foundations of e-democracy and e-participation research including theories, methods, models and approaches
  • Enabling electronic decision-making (e-participation, e-voting) in times of a pandemic, such and COVID-19
  • Advances in participatory policy making using policy modeling, simulation, impact assessment and visualization methods and tools
  • New forms of analog and digital participation, participation and communication platforms, mobile media, social media and applications for citizens, Living Labs, innovation labs
  • Enhancing democracy and public participation using ICT and new technologies, AI,  block chains, etc.
  • Analysis of digital interactions between citizens, businesses, governments, service providers and other stakeholders
  • Advances in online deliberation and discourse, participatory budgeting, e-consultation, e-polling, and e-legislation, e-electioneering, e-campaigning and e-voting
  • Impact of big and open data on public engagement, sustainability of e-democracy, e-participation and citizen engagement
  • Analyses of good practices and key factors for success, motivational factors, and  reasons for failures
  • The impact of transparency, digital literacy, digital competences, and open access on  public engagement and democracy
  • Design and co-creation of participatory public services
  • Case studies on top-down and bottom-up initiatives in e-participation and e-democracy
  • The role of e-democracy and e-participation in national and global crisis situations
  • Citizen inclusion and digital divide: gender, age, education, etc.
  • New approaches to direct democracy, Inclusive e-Governance in the context of Regional Smart Specialization
  • E-democracy and e-participation projects: design, implementation, evaluation, quality and impact
  • Impact assessment and public value considerations in real world decision making
  • Digital research methods and big data applications for e-participation and e-democracy research
  • Critical perspectives: failures, bad experiences, co-destruction, digital hype but not reality, fringe groups

Track Chairs

  • Noella Edelmann (lead), Danube University Krems, Austria
  • Peter Parycek, Fraunhofer Fokus, Germany / Danube-University Krems, Austria
  • Robert Krimmer, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia

Digital and social media

Digital and social media are central for government, public administration, democratic and political processes and communication. On the one hand, they are an increasingly important interface between governments, the public sector and their respective publics. On the other hand, they also play an important role for innovation in the public sector, improving public service delivery and providing opportunities for public participation.

Social media applications and digital tools have also reshaped the nature of collaboration within public organisations, across governance networks, impacting political communication and campaigning. Whilst social media are extensively used in politics and by political figures, public sector organisations still struggle to understand how best to use social media and to develop a social media strategy, how to implement them for operational activities and the digital transformation of the organisation, improve services and achieve change and strategic goals.
We invite relevant studies on social media in the public sector that draw on conceptual, case study, survey, mixed or other suitable methods.

Areas of focus and interest include but are not limited to the following topics:

  • New theoretical perspectives and critical analyses of digital interactions
  • Strategies and policies for the planning and implementation of social media
  • Use and significance of social media analytics in political communication and public organisations
  • Organisational issues relevant to the implementation of social media in democratic contexts and the transformation of public sector organisations
  • Stakeholders and digital publics of government engagement on social media
  • Enterprise/organisational networking and knowledge sharing applications
  • Internal and informal digital networks in public sector organisations
  • The role of social media in digital transformation
  • The use of technology and social media for co-production, crowdsourcing, citizen-sourcing, co-creation and other crowd-based models (e.g. in regulation, bottom-up initiatives, open source movements)
  • Mobilisation, social movements and other forms of digital engagement enabled by social media
  • Social media in crisis and emergency management
  • Ethical, privacy, regulatory and policy issues related to social media
  • Evaluation of the impact of social media in various contexts
  • New methods, challenges and opportunities of social media data
  • Design methods and user experience in digital collaboration

Track Chairs

  • Sara Hofmann (lead), University of Agder
  • Marius Rohde Johannessen, University of South-Eastern Norway
  • Panos Panagiotopoulos, Queen Mary University of London

Open data: social and technical aspects

Public sector organizations increasingly publish open data for everyone to freely reuse. At the same time, sensor data from a wide range of sources provide vast amounts of data. All these data have the potential to transform businesses, citizens, and the public sector itself. They provide unprecedented opportunities for improving decision making, enhancing transparency, creating public value, and boosting the digital economy. But this is based on the assumption that a new generation of technology will be developed that will enable visualization, processing, storing and making sense out of big data. Therefore, this context brings forward numerous potential benefits, but also important social and technical challenges and barriers.

The “Open Data: Social and Technical Aspects” Track focuses on open government data, public big data sharing and use, data for improving public value and transparency as well as data analytics capitalizing on Linked Open Data and other technologies. The track also invites researchers interested in the underlying assumptions behind, and consequences of, opening up and using data, focusing on transparency, accountability, and other organizational and societal issues that are related to open data in the public sector.

Areas of focus and interest include but are not limited to the following topics:

  • Open data policy, politics, governance and decision making: the role of open data in supporting eGovernment policies (e.g. the only-only principle, interoperability frameworks); governance of open, big and linked data; opportunities, drivers and barriers for/to the adoption of open, big and linked data; the global spread of open data policy; transparency and accountability, economic innovation, drivers and barriers for open data; smart open, big and linked data applications and dashboards for decision making;
  • Open data and technologies: technical frameworks for data and metadata; ontologies, linked open data and knowledge graphs; mash-ups; data formats, standards and APIs; integration into backend systems; data visualisation; data quality; data end-users and intermediaries;
  • Innovation and co-production with open and linked data: the role of open, big and linked data in public sector innovation; open data enabled models of public service provision; government as a platform; the role of public, private and societal stakeholders in data sharing and use; making open data innovation sustainable; connecting open data and crowdsourcing; data and information literacy;
  • Evidence and impacts: impact on society and/or public administration; value of real-life applications based on open government data, costs and benefits of providing or using open data; emerging good practices; and public value generation using open data.

Track Chairs

  • J. Ramon Gil-Garcia (lead), University at Albany, State University of New York, USA
  • Anneke Zuiderwijk, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
  • Efthimios Tambouris, University of Macedonia, Greece

Legal Informatics

Legal informatics allow for a plethora of useful and efficient solutions for the public sector. These applications offer support for fields such as the production and management of legislation, support for the judiciary and support for governance.

The domain faces the challenge to bring logic and formalism into the multitude of legal systems as well as managing privacy challenges, data protection issues, digital identity issues, technology for natural language processing and annotation of legal texts, including argument retrieval, and visualization of legal information, data and argumentation.

With these challenges in mind, we invite papers on the legal, technical, societal, ethical, theoretical and practical questions that arise within the multidisciplinary field of legal informatics. Areas of focus and interest include but are not limited to the following topics:

  • Legal implications of E-Government: Digital administrative procedures, digital signature etc;
  • Theory and foundations: Contributions to the theory and interdisciplinary foundations for the use of information systems in the legal domain;
  • Technology: Contributions to the technological advancement of information systems in the legal domain;
  • Legal implications of big data applications: Challenges to privacy, autonomy, governance, equity, and fairness;
  • Privacy: policies, regulations, strategies, recommendations
  • Applications and use cases: implementations of legal informatics systems under realistic conditions;
  • Legislative framework for legal informatics on a European and national level;
  • Improved regulation and transformed regulation processes;
  • Information systems to ensure privacy standards
  • Copyright law in the legal informatics domain
  • Open Data regulations on a European and national level in the context of legal informatics

Track Chairs

  • Peter Parycek (lead), Fraunhofer Fokus, Germany
  • Anna-Sophie Novak, Danube University Krems, Austria

AI, Data Analytics & Automated Decision Making Track

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution creates new tools for conducting economic activities in the private sector, it also provides the public sector with tools for creating public value and engaging in digital transformation. While ICT has been fundamental for digitalising public services, the public sector increasingly relies on Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), (Big) Data Analytics (BDA), Blockchain, 5G, Adaptive manufacturing / 3D technologies, wireless and related technologies to accelerate and increase the impact of digital transformation.
As citizens are spending more time on the Internet, their digital footprints are becoming easier to collect, forming massive interconnected networks of data. Innovative methods and tools to analyse such data and understand policy implications are in urgent demand. In particular, open data and open government initiatives can create bigger synergy and impact when integrated with new technologies.

However, the use of new technologies by government has some serious ethical and policy implications. Complementing or replacing human-made public service with AI, automating decisions of consequence to people’s lives, harvesting interconnected data about individuals, etc. raise the risk that exclusion, injustice and privacy violations can happen on a massive scale. Decision made through (Big) Data Analytics and policy modelling tool may generate optimal solutions from an economic perspective, but not from a social inclusion perspective, or give rise to transparency and fairness concerns. Privacy and security issues with regards to citizens’ everyday digital footprints also have legal and policy implications.

This track invites papers that can advance theoretical, practical and policy questions on those issues. Papers are expected to address the topics including but not limited to:

  • Adoption of robotics-based public services
  • AI and labour displacement in the public sector
  • AI applications cases and smart cities
  • AI and policy monitoring and analytics
  • AI in government and discriminatory bias
  • Big data analytics for policy modelling
  • Co-creation via AI and big data analytics
  • Computational analysis methods for open data
  • Consequential decisions and AI in government
  • Decision support system for policy-makers
  • AI-enabled digital transformation
  • Disruptive services in public sector
  • Evaluating AI and automation
  • Impact of AI on social cohesion
  • IoT applications in public services
  • Ethical and privacy issues
  • Policy modelling
  • Quality of AI-enabled public services

Track Chairs

  • Evangelos Kalampokis, CERTH, Greece
  • Euripidis Loukis, University of Aegean, Greece
  • Habin Lee (lead), Brunel University London, United Kingdom

Emerging Issues and innovations track

Governments from all over the world are transforming to be prepared for the digital age. Governments at all levels – and the public sector in general – can easily be criticized for not being flexible or innovative or even being too conservative and slow in adopting new ideas, upcoming technologies or innovative organizational solutions. At the same time it is expected that policy-makers are able to follow what changes are happening in the economy or in society in general. Yet time and time again we can see new ideas being picked up by public institutions as users – and it often happens that policy makers leg behind technical or societal changes.

But that is just one side of the story: researchers focusing on the digitalization of the public sector may also be influenced by new views and may utilize new methods and techniques. A future without government, AI rules democracy and fully automated decision-making are provocative ideas.

The goal of this track is twofold. On the one hand it wishes to give opportunity for researchers to present and discuss upcoming digital ideas and technologies from the point of view of their relationships to the public sector, on the other it hopes to provide a floor to discuss emerging ideas and techniques related to researching the digital agenda in the public sector.
Thus it offers a platform for participants to discuss any kind of emerging issues and topics relevant for researchers engaged with all kinds of questions related to eGovernment, eParticipation, eDemocracy and eCities, including experiment and innovative case studies and projects. This may include but not limited to:

  • Public use as well as regulations of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things
  • Public-private sector collaboration and integration
  • Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), smart contracts and blockchain
  • Regulation and policies of latest AI techniques
  • New technologies for automated decision-making
  • Public values in transforming the government
  • Looking ahead into social innovation
  • The future of government, policy-making and democracy
  • Preparing for the legal challenges of future technologies
  • Upcoming issues of eVoting including application of digital signatures in the public sector
  • The relationships of governments and Fintech;
  • Online public community building
  • Utilization of digital billboards
  • Developments towards eCities
  • Regulating secure information exchange and misinformation
  • Latest trends in co-creation and service delivery
  • Global challenges that go beyond nation states (such as migration, climate change and so on) and which require international collaboration of individual governments
  • Succesful and failed experiments and case studies
  • New trends in public sector research
  • Novel research methods

Track chairs

  • Csaba Csaki (lead), Corvinus Business School, Hungary
  • Gianluca Misuraca, Centro Economia Digitale, Rome
  • Francesco Mureddu, The Lisbon Council, Belgium
  • Marijn Janssen, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands