A special issue of International Journal of Electronic Democracy
Electronic government (e-government) is rapidly becoming one of governments’ critical means for the provision of seamless services for public agencies, businesses and citizens. With the spread of information and communication technologies (ICT), new challenges have emerged, accentuating the perspective for making governmental services better, more cost effective, and more accessible. Many European local or central governments have made substantial investments for improving e-government infrastructures and services for citizens and businesses. Considerable advances have been achieved in the rollout of ICT-based e-government services in many European regions, and success has already been registered: for example, online tax returns save millions of hours each year. However, much remains to be done in order to record essential progress and social acceptance of e-government in areas that are lagging behind in their development and/or adoption.
This problem can be clearly identified when considering e-government services for small & medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas. SMEs are prevalent in both urban and rural areas, and are particularly common in rural areas. SMEs in rural areas face different barriers to grow and operate than their counterparts in other areas. Away from the central public authorities, rural (also referred to as regional) SMEs, do not have direct, physical access to a variety of services that public agencies offer. They are far away from the decision and policy-making centres and it is not always feasible, due to lack of transportation, time, money or bad weather, nor convenient, to travel to obtain the necessary information or for making use of the available public services.
ICT tools and methods aim to address such problems: first, by providing the means for public authorities to deploy and provide their services online; second, by facilitating rural SMEs in accessing e-services from their region. On the other hand, in many cases professionals and citizens are not aware of electronically available public services, or do not know how to effectively use them so as to reap benefits in their everyday business activities.
In this context, the general aim of this special issue is to assess the current status and technologies, as well as to outline the major challenges and future perspectives, related to the design, deployment, evaluation and uptake of e-government services for SMEs in rural areas.
Topics for the special issue include, but are not limited to:
- E-government technologies and applications for rural SMEs
- Regional authorities adoption of e-government technologies
- Regional SMEs' adoption of e-government services
- Real-life case studies of e-government services that support rural entrepreneurship
- SMEs' requirements and needs for e-government services provision
- Assessing current e-government services for rural areas: efficiency, security, privacy, and cost effectiveness
- E-government services to enhance self-employment in rural areas
- ICT education and training initiatives for rural SMEs
- Methodologies, frameworks and architectures for deploying e-government in SMEs
- Strategic planning for e-government in SMEs
- Policy issues for the provision of e-government services
- Mobile government applications for SMEs
- E-services evaluation for rural SMEs
- Data protection and data privacy affecting e-government adoption in rural areas
- E-government legal issues and rural SMEs
- Privacy-preserving e-government technologies, applications and services
- Digital identity management for e-government services and SMEs
- Future challenges regarding e-government services for SMEs
- E-government for rural communities' inclusion
1-2 Page Abstract: 30 September 2007
Notification of appropriateness: 31 October 2007
Manuscript submission: 31 January 2008
Notification of acceptance/rejection: 31 March 2008
Final manuscript due: 31 May 2008