Open Government Directive – Read and Discuss It Here

For your convenience, we’ve uploaded the Open Government Directive to our Scribd site and embedded it here for quick review, dissemination and dialogue.

What are your initial thoughts?

You may also be interested in these forum discussions:

1. Is your agency ready for open gov?

2. How do you define government transparency?

Open Gov Directive

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Couple interesting thoughts:

-Lots of focus on data and data quality.
-They really love some dashboards – it’s a solid approach
-I hope they would do Open Gov Awards. Didn’t see it in there.
-Wonder where the responsibility for implementation will come from – CIO shops, New Media politicals, Public Affairs.

Doug Black

The comment about responsibility for implementation is key. It will be very interesting to see how the agencies / departments determine this. Are we looking at a new position, like Chief Openness Officer? Just kidding, but only slightly.

Andrew Krzmarzick

My hope is that agencies assemble Open Government Task Forces (or something akin to it) that bring together various stakeholders (IT, public affairs, legal, etc.) to talk about the implications and potential actions for implementation. Who else should be at the table?

Virginia Hill

Just as the White House solicited ideas for “Green Gov,” I think agencies should solicit ideas from employees about how to make our business more open and transparent. Of course, the ideas would have to be categorized and prioritized, but I’m sure Feds have good ideas about open government.

Noel Dickover

I’m actually concerned about the aggressiveness of the timeline. If the Agency plans are really supposed to be completed within 120 days, the question I would have is what level of detail and coordination & buy-in is expected? Has every Agency already identified the right office for Open Govt? If not, this itself may take a month or two. Couple this with soliciting input from the public (and BTW, does this input solicitation constitute and information collection – if so, there’s 6 months for the paperwork reduction act process tacked on to this), and the 120 day period, if met, probably hasn’t involved serious input from “senior policy, legal, and technology leadership in your agency.”

Again, the concern is the plan will only be updated every two year. If its simply rushed out, it becomes more of a paperwork exercise. I would be happier with say a 6 month timeline on this. In practice, this will most likely happen anyways.

Scott Horvath

@Noel: You make some very valid points. It is an aggressive timeline and I’m sure that not every agency will be completed within 45, 60, 90, 120 days, etc. There’s a lot of coordination that has to occur internally amongst various teams that, quite honestly, have probably never worked with each other directly for any extended period of time. This is going to be a challenge for everyone.

Noel Dickover

Scott, the real concern here is if Agencies determine this is just yet another buzzword to “comply” with, they will each have a designated FTE or “fall guy” (known as the Agency POC) who spends his/her time producing documents for OMB, but that nobody in the agency actually listens to or cares about. We all can list examples of this (Federal Enterprise Architecture, anyone?), but the bottom line is with every new “change the world” initiative, this is always a concern. Every Agency will have feelers to determine how serious this effort is. The aggressive timeline, if strictly pushed, could be interpreted in that light. You can certainly imagine someone saying, “If we can’t get the job done right, than by God, we’ll get it done fast!”

The answer to address this concern is ongoing collaboration between OMB action officers and agency POCs. The emphasis should DEFINITELY be on getting it right versus getting it done on time. This message should be conveyed through both overt and tacit signals.

Joe Flood

Where are the all the web developers going to come from? That’s a lot of web sites and data feeds to be published online. Somebody has to actually do the work. I’m sure these mandates will be passed down, person to person, committee to committee, task force to task force, until some poor IT specialist is tasked with doing all of these projects at the last minute.

John Moore

As someone who is very much involved with efforts in the private sector, and who is working to learn more about the needs of the public sector, I have to ask if it would make sense to include private sector people, perspectives, more deeply into the conversations. I could absolutely be wrong but it feels like there would be real value in unifying approaches across agencies.

I know the OGD is vague, what are the approaches that agencies are following to meet this directive?


Stuart, an SBA program, has just published several datasets to meet the OGD. You can find them on the Small Business Administration’s Open Page:

If you’d like to get a little more insight about web services and why they are useful to your agency’s constituents please read my article on making Public Data More Accessible Through Web Services. If you are a developer looking for government data to get your hands on please visit our Web Service API page.