Defining the Public Good in Applications to Access Public Data

28 May 2021
Last updated:
7 June 2021

Summary of the findings

The report has generated quantitative and qualitative findings which provide insight into which public benefits are referred to most, and least, as well as public benefits which may not fit into the seven categories outlined by the RAP application form.

  • the most frequently mentioned public benefits in NSDEC applications were improve statistics and service delivery, whereas RAP applications mentioned policy decisions and societal benefit more
  • further analysis demonstrated differences between the two types of applications: the NSDEC applications focused considerably more on improve statistics (compared to RAP applications), and RAP applications focused much more on societal benefit (compared to NSDEC applications)
  • further research and further official statistics were the least mentioned public benefits in both applications. Extend understanding was referred to more than both of these, but less still than the public benefits which referred to policy
  • academics and organisations tended to refer more to serving public good by improving the evidence base for policy decisions. Applications from government employees in contrast referred more often to their aim to improve statistics to serve the public good
  • applications on the topic of health more frequently referred to service delivery and societal benefit, in contrast to applications on the topic of children, population, and business, which more frequently mentioned policy decisions
  • in the qualitative analysis, the findings showed that improving public spending and providing more regional information were two benefits mentioned relatively frequently in the applications. Some applications also contained mentions of data linkage and research collaborations which would provide public benefits
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