To accelerate the attainment of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in low- and middle-income countries, digital public goods (DPGs) are attributed a central role. Digital public goods have been defined as “open-source software, open data, open AI models, open standards and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm by design, and help attain the SDGs” (https://digitalpublicgoods.net).
Initiatives, such as the Digital Public Goods Alliance, aim to facilitate “the discovery, development, use of and investments in digital public goods” (https://digitalpublicgoods.net). Other examples include Digital Square (https://digitalsquare.org/) and the Digital Impact Alliance (https://solutions.dial.communit).
Several different repositories/registries/databases for DPGs exist, but our knowledge about these repositories is limited. 1-2 master students will, in this project, explore the various DPGs repositories. We expect the students to start out with a broad scope to understand the landscape of the repositories and their roles. Based on these insights, as well as the background and interest of the students, the students will go deeper and narrower on issues such as (but not limited to):
- The purpose, funding and/or motivations behind the repositories
- How the repositories are designed
- How the repositories are governed
- How DPGs are added (and not added) to the repositories, including the inclusion and exclusion criteria
- How the DPGs are classified and categorized – the different types
- How well are the DPGs suited to be used in low- and middle-income countries (how generic, flexible, customizable, well-documented etc. they are)
- Who are the users, and how do they use the repositories
- Who are the users, and how do they use the DPGs
- What role do the repositories play related to the attainment of the SDGs
The student(s) may choose to study one repository and/or compare different repositories. Based on the increasing attention and interest in DPGs among large organizations and academic environments, this master thesis project is expected to develop new knowledge about how the DPG repositories work and how they are used. We also expect the students to develop recommendations for those promoting the repositories and those using them.
For more information about the DPGs, you may read this paper.