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Open Government Research Agenda Setting Workshop
April 27-28, 2011
With the one-year anniversary of the Open Government directive approaching, the field of Open Government is at an important cross roads. While much work has been done by government agencies in trying to make their data, operations, and services more open to the public, many questions about these efforts remain unanswered. Questions requiring attention include what impact is access to government data having on citizens and how can technology innovations make government data more valuable to citizens? Getting answers to these questions and other related questions, depends on our collective ability to build new knowledge about opening government, and in particular, the use of government data to improve the lives of everyday citizens.

Workshop Context
  • As part of his opening remarks at the recent NITRD – NARA Open Government Research and Development Summit http://www.nitrd.gov/opengov/, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra outlined five critical questions for open government research moving forward. These five questions and others brought forward by participants will be used to launch the workshop discussions.
    1. Big Data - How Do We Strengthen our Capacity to Understand Large Data Sets?
    2. New Products - What Constitutes “High Value” Data?
    3. Open Platforms - What are the Policy Implications of Enabling 3rd Party Apps?
    4. International Collaboration - What Models to Strengthen Democracy Translate Internationally?
    5. Digital Norms - What Works and What Doesn’t in Public Engagement?
  • Part of a series of events being held to contribute to the development of an actionable and relevant multi-year open government research and development program focused on identifying critical needs, mapping needs to potential solutions, identifying legal and policy barriers, exploring critical evaluative approaches, and laying out strategies for attaining future research funding.

Workshop Purpose
  • Bring together networks in law, policy, and technology to begin to outline a research agenda for open innovation and promote the diffusion of that innovation in the public sector through the study and design of laws, policies, and technologies in support of open government.
  • Define a research roadmap that looks at the legal, policy, and technical questions that must be addressed in using government data to improve the lives of everyday citizens.
  • Expand current discussions among government leaders, funding agencies, foundations, civil society, and research scientists about government data and the potential of that data to improve the lives of everyday citizens.

Workshop Approach
  • The workshop will be conducted primarily through small and large group discussions. A single opening presentation will provide a summary overview of the Open Government Research and Development Summit held in DC on March 21-22nd.
  • Small and large group discussions will be organized around the priority areas of interest as determined by the participants. CTG will provide facilitators for these sessions.

General Workshop Questions
  • What are the key research questions related to government use of data for improving the lives of citizens? From a legal, policy, and technology perspective?
  • How might academia, government practitioners, the private sector, civil society best collaborate to answer these questions?
  • How can the ideas shared and questions outlined be made actionable and relevant to researchers, practitioners and funding agencies?
  • What challenges must be overcome if this agenda, once pursued, is to improve the lives of citizens through new knowledge about the use of government data?

Workshop Products
  • A workshop report – audience, form, and format to be determined by the group.