In early 2013, thanks to support from Google.org, Sunlight launched a new initiative to research the impacts of technology enabled transparency policy around the world through a series of case studies. Our work is an attempt to grow the body of evidence on how transparency functions, when it works best and why, and where approaches are in need of improvement. Technology enabled transparency is relatively young, and while the evidence base has been growing, there is still a long way to go before our field has the benefit of mature theories of change and data/impact driven policy recommendations. Learning these important lessons is a communal endeavor being undertaken in working groups and coalitions of researchers and practitioners around the world.
In this context, collaboration and knowledge sharing is at the heart of this project. As we approach our case studies, we are aiming for a research process that mirrors the best of what open processes have to offer – a chance to draw on the latent knowledge of a larger community beyond ourselves, and a chance to be held accountable to the highest standards of honest research inquiry.
After discussing our plans with various members of the transparency community, we have settled on a case study methodology which will evaluate the impacts and effects of transparency policy across different issue areas. For each issue area that we research we study three cases from around the world. We intend to select cases to capture reasonable variation in location, context, maturity and scope as we focus on particular examples. To address these cases we are using a mixed method approach tailored to the issue area using tools including: qualitative stakeholder interviews, surveys, disclosure data audit, content analysis and platform affordance comparisons.
Case studies will be released on a rolling basis, and can be found to the right.
In the collaborative spirit of our community, we've set up a venue to make public these conversations about theories of change, context and impact. We present: OpenGov Conversations.
Lobbying regulation in Hungary provides a trenchant reminder that the political culture and context in which reform is undertaken can have a profound impact on how a law is implemented, ...
While there are many admirable features of Canadian lobbying regulation, current disclosure thresholds and requirements actually create a subtly perverse incentive structure that drives activity into the shadows.
The third installment of our Transparency Case Studies series focuses on public procurement in Sydney, Australia: a deep dive into what the city gets right, what it could improve upon ...