Web Science and Big Data Analytics Conference on Information Transparency and Digital Democracy
In March 2015,”We Are Social” reported that there were 72.7 million active internet users and 74 million active social media users in Indonesia. On average Indonesians spent nearly 5 hours per day accessing the internet via computers or tablets, and 3-hour internet access per day via mobile phones. This information highlights the potential of social media and web usage to increase information transparency among Indonesian citizens, as well as their active participation in digital democracy.
Examples include Lapor! (Report!) and Qlue used to monitor and make reports on government services, “Publish What You Pay” for transparency and accountability, and Kawal Pemilu (Guard the Election) which was used to monitor the presidential election.
Hence, there is a strong need to develop a web observatory in Indonesia with big data analytics capabilities to examine the data generated by Indonesian citizens on the web, understand it, and anticipate the impact.
In response to this need, British Council in partnership with Universitas of Indonesia and University of Southampton in the United Kingdom held Web Science and Big Data Analysis on Information Transparency and Digital Democracy Conference on 25 August 2015 in Jakarta. The conference is designed to understand the challenges, leverage the potential, and broaden the national and international research collaboration among web scientists.
Sally Goggin, Country Director of the British Council Indonesia stated, “By bringing the expertise on big data from international level, especially U.K., we hope that this conference will give the insights on how big data utilisations can benefit Indonesian.”
Prof. Muhammad Anis, Rector of the University of Indonesia, shared that the Faculty of Computer Science of the University of Indonesia conducted research on big data from Twitter by analysing citizens’ sentiment during presidential debate before the election in 2014. He added that the prediction from Twitter is as accurate as the quick count result from survey agencies.
Prof. Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director of the University’s Web Science Institute, University of Southampton, stated that web science and big data analytics are already contributing to empower citizens in terms of freedom of expression as well as facilitate future research collaboration and will lead to stronger expert network between Asia, Australia and the U.K.