Open Government Initiatives: Challenges of Citizen Participation

Article, Refereed Journal
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 31.4 (2013): 172-185
Cover of Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Volume 32, Issue 1 (Winter 2013)

Much of the work in open government, both in its implementation and research, has emphasized data and the information and communications techniques supporting their access, interoperability, and usability. This data-driven focus has not been proven to significantly increase citizen understanding of the complexities of issues and policies or their participation in relevant policy deliberations. If the primary goal of open government is to engage citizens, then current initiatives must be re-evaluated and new approaches explored — shifting beyond data delivery. Releasing volumes of data on a website without background on why and how it is collected, how it is organized, and its intended use, leaves citizens with herculean tasks of determining its relevance and reliability.