New post: “How Transparent is the New FDA Transparency Blog?”

On my own blog I’ve posted How Transparent is the new FDA Transparency Blog? I’ll be interested in comments here or there since the issues that the FDA will need to resolve are examples of what many other agencies will need to deal with as they make their processes more transparent to the public.

In the case of the FDA there will probably need to be some synchronization among the different communication channels that will be relevant to transparency. Just in the case of the FDA Transparency Blog, for example, the following are touched on by my blog post:

– public meetings
– comments submitted in advance of public meetings on specific topics
– the handling of mailed, emailed, and blogged comments
– the role of the Federal Register
– the role of Regulations.gov

This is the concluding paragraph from my post:

“Also, I suspect that this Transparency Blog won’t disappear in November as planned but that it will evolve into an ongoing group of communication programs associated with all of FDA’s externally facing processes. That means, of course, that rules and policies governing secrecy, formal versus informal communication, legal discoverability, confidentiality, and other transparency-related issues will need to be addressed — and that’s what this process is all about.”

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I think the main trick agencies (and companies and individuals) will have is that a blog ends up being a lot of work to do right. For most of Gov 2.0 the actual tech part is pretty easy. The communication, culture, and community pieces however require a lot of work and finesse. So I applaude these initiatives but I hope agencies put the resources to these endeavors and not just have the one intern create the blog or FB page and it’ll die when they leave.

Dennis McDonald

Very good points. These tools take time and thought to keep up and coordinate. That’s one of the reasons I cringe whenever I hear someone extolling all the “free tools” that are available for online publishing and networking.


I think it will take time for agency workers to feel comfortable to blog and not fear reprisal; retaliation and having to defend every word that they write. If this can occur, I believe this type of acceptance and tolerance will encourage greater success and participation.

It would not be right for someone who wrote something that someone else did not like and for that someone else to complain to their boss on who made that comment.

Next thing, the employee knows is that either he or she is receiving a lower evaluation because either he or she were expressing the right of free speech.

I applauded the FDA initiative and all the effort they are doing to be more transparent and open.

I also think it will be really cool and informative when the House starts publishing all the congressmen’s expenses online as well.

Dennis McDonald

Genio – I agree with you on the reporting of Congressional expenses. Can you imagine how different things would be today if the our British friends had adopted such an approach years ago to published expense reports of members of Parliament?