Open Government Isn't Dead

October 30, 2011

Washington is in the midst of a budget-cutting fervor. So are initiatives like open government dead? Some seem to think so. For example, Washington Post columnist Vivek Wadhwa's June article "The Death of Open Government" followed the resignation announcement of federal chief information officer — and open government champion — Vivek Kundra.

But according to a recent assessment, President Obama's signature open government initiative does live. It is just that there may be a shift in emphasis from a focus on transparency to a focus on citizen engagement. A new IBM Center report — "Assessing Public Participation in an Open Government Era: A Review of Federal Agency Plans" by Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Joe Goldman and David Stern — is a useful snapshot of what's going on across agencies, along with lessons learned and possible next steps by the White House and agencies. 

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