A recent Twitter exchange that I saw got me thinking about the different things people mean by “open government”.
John Moore retweeted:
@canadiancynic: So, @TonyClementCPC, how’s that whole “#opengov” thing working out for you? Uh oh … www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/harper-conservatives-win-award-for-most-secretive-government/article2417147/
Tony Clement replied:
@JohnFMoore 272,000 data sets now online; more usable formats; science research online, etc #opengov http://www.data.ca. Thx.
It seemed clear to me that for Tony Clement, “open government” = “open data”. For Canadiancynic (and possibly John Moore), “open government” has more to do with broader transparency.
This dichotomy between “open (government data)” and “(open government) data” is also picked up in a paperby Princeton scholars David Robinson and Harlan Yu on the ambiguity of the term “open government”. Some, they say, see it as centering on the politics of accountability and others as centering on the technologies of open data – on “government as a platform”.
Personally, I think both views don’t do justice to the possibilities. For conversations sake, I offer the Venn diagram below, showing three dimensions of open government. There may very well be more.