National Archives hosts Open Government R&D Summit

Whether the White House can foster innovation through open government is up for debate. Last December, the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST) emphasized the importance of establishing an R&D agenda for open government in a report.

This week in Washington, D.C., the National Archives is hosting an Open Government Research and Development Summit. Collaborative innovation in open government is a notion that goes back to Thomas Jefferson. Whether open models for science can lead to better outcomes in research in the 21st Century is the question of the day. You can follow the liveblog of the event below.

Day 2 Liveblog

Day 1 Liveblog

For more details, here are the organizing notes:

The summit will set the foundation for a robust R&D agenda that ensures the benefits of open government are widely realized, with emphasis on how open government can spur economic growth and improve the lives of everyday Americans. This will be the first opportunity for researchers, scholars, and open government professionals to begin a discussion that will continue at academic centers throughout the country over the next few years.”

Government innovators will talk about openness in the context of education, health, and economic policy, and international open government. Speakers include Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States.

Panelists made up of scholars, activists, and present and former policymakers will then discuss the important research questions that researchers must grapple with in order to ensure lasting success in the open government space. Panels will discuss issues such as how to safely release data without creating mosaic effects. Panelists include Jim Hendler (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Noshir Contractor (Northwestern University), Archon Fung (Harvard University), Chris Vein (U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer), Beth Noveck (New York Law School), and Susan Crawford (Yeshiva University).

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) are hosting this summit, with support from the MacArthur Foundation.

Workshop agenda: click here
Participant Information Packet: click here

Video of federal chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra is embedded below. [Editor’s Note: Apparently the way that iPhone 4 accelerometer interacted with the video meant that the video didn’t shift to landscape mode after the shift. Apologies to viewers, who may find this one better to listen to, unless you prefer to put the laptop or screen on edge.]

Part II:

About Alex Howard

Alexander B. Howard is a DC-based a technology writer and editor. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where he covered the voices, technologies and issues that matter in the intersection of government, technology and society. If you're feeling social, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or circle him on Google Plus In addition to corresponding for the O’Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Govfresh, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, National Journal, The Atlantic, CBS News and Forbes. He graduated from Colby College with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. Currently, he is a resident of the District of Columbia, where he lives with his greyhound, wife, power tools, plants and growing collection of cast iron pans, many of which are frequently used to pursue his passion for good cooking.

6 Responses

  1. Andrea Schneider

    Thanks for putting this up and keeping us informed. I signed up and couldn’t make it. So extra thanks, this is much needed. Hope there is some discussion of research on organizational change needed to support OpenGov at federal, state and local levels. Ditto on applied ideas for innovation beyond sole use of technology.
    Andrea Schneider

  2. The most infuriating thing about this summit is that it purported to discuss areas of the PCAST report that implicated open government. Then, the agenda happened, and it was clear that we had SXSW – the sequel, which was the sequel to IOGDC, and so on.

    The PCAST report identifies where government needs to inject openness into the standards and architectures of critical infrastructure, which tees up many intriguing research questions about the economic implications of such choices. Models remain anecdotal. There are articles flying around saying that open data principles are sensible, but all evidence is macroeconomic. We need microeconomic models to support the ways the PCAST report wants to use openness.

    None of this was addressed at the OpenGov R&D Summit. None of these research questions were raised in the audience. Linked data is a tactic; the PCAST report identifies data that could be linked. No one drew a straight line. There was a serious paucity of imagination on the panels and in the audience. No forward-looking research agenda was set, as the summit promised to do.

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