Transparency in focus in second open government action plan

More than two years have passed since the administration announced its first open government national action plan. It has now unveiled its second one intended to guide the country over the next two years.

The first NAP was released in September 2011 and featured 26 commitments to increase government transparency and improve public access to information. This latest NAP includes 23 new or expanded open government commitments.

The release was announced in a White House blog post today by Deputy Chief Technology Officer Nick Sinai and Gayle Smith, special assistant to the president and senior director for development and democracy.

“This second National Action Plan is another opportunity to set concrete and measurable goals for achieving a more transparent, participatory, and collaborative government,” Sinai and Smith wrote in the post.


In creating this second NAP, the federal government reached out for input from the public, academia, private sector and different civil society organizations to refine the commitments made in the first framework.

According to the report, this document will serve as a road map for the next two years for the administration as it works to partner with outside organizations to further open data.

Sinai and Smith described the other initiatives launched or expanded today as “increasing open innovation by encouraging expanded use of challenges, incentive prizes, citizen science and crowdsourcing to harness American ingenuity, as well as modernizing the management of government records by leveraging technology to make records less burdensome to manage and easier to use and share.”

Here are some examples of initiatives outlined in the second NAP:

  • Improvements to the We the People site, which makes petitioning the government easier. The second NAP creates a more streamlined process for signing petitions and an updated application programming interface will allow signatures to be collected and submitted to the We the People platform from a third-party site.
  • Updating and improving the Freedom of Information Act by simplifying the process of filing requests at agencies. For example, the second NAP would establish a FOIA Advisory Committee and improve FOIA training across government.
  • Strengthen and expand whistle-blower protection for government personnel by mandating participation in the whistleblower certification and implementing the 2012 presidential directive protecting whistle-blowers.
  • Increase transparency in federal spending by opening up more federal spending data and publishing additional federal contracting data. The NAP will also require the U.S. to join the Global Initiative on Fiscal Transparency.
  • It will also open up more data to the public through an improved site, further encouragement of agencies putting their data in published lists of datasets, and opening up agriculture and nutrition data, as well as natural disaster data to support response and recovery efforts.

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