The OMB Open Government Directive published on December 8, 2009 includes what are (in my opinion) some undefined terms and very unrealistic expectations and deadlines for federal agency compliance with the directive. It also did not include any method for assessing progress towards the spirit and intent of the stated objectives.
I would like to offer a simple framework that the Data.gov effort can use to work (collaboratively) with federal agencies to help achieve the objectives laid out in the directive. The framework includes the following five questions:
1. Are we are clear about the performance questions that we want to answer with data to be made available from each of the contributing federal agencies?
2. Have we identifed the availability of the desired data and have we appropriately addressed security and privacy risks or concerns related to making that data available through Data.gov?
3. Do we understand the burden (level of effort) required to make each of the desired data streams available through Data.gov and is the funding available (either internally or externally) to make the effort a success?
4. Do we understand how the various data consumer groups (the 'public') will want to see or access the data and does the infrastructure exist to make the data available in the desired format?
5. Do we (Data.gov and the federal agency involved) have a documented and agreed to strategy that prepares us to digest and respond to public feedback, ideas for innovation, etc., received as a result of making data available through Data.gov?
I would recommend this framwork be included in the next version of the Data.gov CONOP so as to provide a way for everyone involved to a) measure progress towards the objectives of the OMB directive and b) provide a tool for facilitating the dialogue with federal agencies and Congress that will be required to make Data.gov a success.
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