News & events


Maximizing the Value of Public Sector Information: New Paradigms and Expectations for Socio-Economic Development

11 August 2009
12:30 - 13:30

Date :

11 August 2009

Time :

12:30 – 13:30

Presenters :

Dr Raed Sharif, Adjunct Professor, School of Information Studies, Syracuse University

Although it has always been an important asset to those who posses it, in the current knowledge society, information is considered as one of the most important goods in our daily life. At the same time, the public sector is the biggest single producer and owner of a large variety of information (eg health and geographic information, financial reports, social and economic statistics, legislation and judicial proceedings, food and water resources information, and many other kinds of data and information, collectively referred to as Public Sector Information). Public Sector Information (PSI) represents an important resource with vast socio-economic potential to different communities.

This talk focuses on the potential value of PSI to South African government agencies, private sector, academia, civil society organizations and the public. For example, government agencies can use this strategic resource to make sound policies and to promote transparency and accountability; and private sector can use it to produce innovative products and services, which in turn can contribute to the nation’s economy. Scientific communities benefit tremendously from the PSI. The list of benefits to the community includes the promotion of interdisciplinary, inter-sector, inter-institutional, and international research. As for citizens, PSI is essential for exerting their civic rights and enabling democratic participation. Finally, for civil society organizations, PSI can be a strategic resource for their work, especially in areas such as poverty eradication, public health, food security, disaster management, and governance, where the combination of different types of PSI (e.g., geo-spatial, economic, and health data) can be of tremendous value for successful targeting and support of marginalized communities.

I will conclude by some suggestions to maximize the value of the PSI as a strategic resources for a more effective and transparent government, a healthier and competitive economy, as well as a more knowledgeable and responsible citizenry.

Raed M. Sharif is a Ph.D. candidate in Information Science & Technology and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Intellectual Capital Unit, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and a visiting researcher at the Information and Knowledge Management Department at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Raed’s research focuses on access to and reuse of public sector information and its impact on scientific and socio-economic development. In addition to his studies, Raed is very active internationally in promoting fair and equal access to and use of scientific data and information for socio-economic development, especially in the developing world. He worked for two years and a half (2005-2007) as a Research Associate with the Office of International Scientific and Technical Information Programs (ISTIP) at the U.S. National Academies and with the U.S. National Committee on CODATA, where he was involved in designing, launching and evaluating science & technology policy projects and activities. He is also a member of CODATA task group on “Preservation of and Access to Scientific and Technical Data in Developing Countries”, and a steering committee member at the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues (IAP) Program on “Digital Knowledge Resources and Infrastructure in Developing Countries”.

Raed is also active in promoting the involvement of young scientists in the science & technology policy making processes. To that end, he is currently chairing the Young Scientists Forum at the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) Community of Expertise on Enhancing Access to and Application of Scientific Data in Developing Countries (e-SDDC), where he is also a steering committee member, and Co-chairing CODATA Young Scientists Working Group.

Before starting his doctoral studies, Raed worked for five years as a Business Development Manager at Birzeit University in Palestine. He also worked as a consultant for the UNESCO, UNDP, EU, and USAID on ICT-related projects and their impact on the Palestinian people and economy. Raed received his Bachelor in Economics and Political Science in 1999 and his MBA in 2002, both from Birzeit University, Palestine.

Please RSVP by 7 August 2009


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