Open data is key to a transparent, accountable, participatory, and collaborative open government. The 2nd U.S. Open Government National Action Plan called to expand U.S. open data by: managing government data as a strategic asset, launching an improved Data.gov, opening agriculture and nutrition data, and opening natural disaster-related data to support response and recovery efforts. In concert with fulfilling these commitments, the U.S. government has been moving the needle forward every day toward open and machine-readable being the default for government information. You can follow agency progress on Data.gov/Metrics and on the Project Open Data Dashboard, and provide data feedback and requests at Data.gov/Contact.
Since the United States joined the Open Government Partnership in 2011, U.S. agencies have been working alongside civil society to develop and implement commitments to increase transparency, improve participation, and curb corruption. From making it easier to track how taxpayer dollars are spent by opening Federal spending data, to offering the We the People online petition where the public can propose U.S. policy changes, to strengthening efforts to deny safe haven in the U.S. to corrupt individuals, our efforts to advance open government are making an impact.
Consistent with the commitment to the Open Government Partnership, later this year the United States plans to publish a third Open Government National Action Plan (NAP) that will include new and expanded open government initiatives to pursue in the next two years. The first U.S. NAP was published in 2011, and in 2013, the second NAP was published and is still being implemented through the end of 2015.
These plans are a true team effort as governments from all 65 OGP countries work alongside civil society to develop and implement the efforts within the plans. Over the next several months, we encourage you to contribute your ideas and work with us to build an ambitious third National Action Plan!
How can you contribute?
Please share any NAP suggestions with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @OpenGov. You can also contribute ideas to a publicly available Hackpad (an open, collaborative platform) that the General Services Administration is helping to coordinate. (You will need to create an account on the Hackpad site before you are able to view or contribute content.)
You may wish to suggest expanded commitments on topic areas from the first two plans such as public participation, open data, records management, natural resource revenue transparency, the Freedom of Information Act, open innovation, or open educational resources, among others. You may also wish to suggest entirely new initiatives — and we hope you do!
The OGP provides guidance on creating NAPs and outlines that commitments should be:
- Ambitious: pushing government beyond current practice by strengthening transparency, accountability, and public participation;
- Relevant: advancing one of the four open government principles of (1) transparency, (2) accountability, (3) participation, and/or (4) technology and innovation;
- Specific: describing the problem to be solved and expected outcomes; and
- Measurable: allowing independent observers to gauge whether the commitment has been completed.
As you suggest possible initiatives for the next NAP to help ensure the United States pursues bold, ambitious efforts, please tell us how those suggestions would achieve these criteria.
We look forward to working together as we update our roadmap for open government in the United States. Join us!
Corinna Zarek is the Senior Advisor for Open Government to the U.S. Chief Technology Officer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy