It doesn't take a huge staff or financial investment to start publishing open city data. Just ask Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.Continue reading
Make open data policy more participatory with our new crowdlaw guide
Crowdlaw and open data policies are uniquely suited for one another: both are rooted in the principle that democratic government is a participatory and collaborative exercise. Successful crowdlaw processes require more than simply posting a draft policy language online, however. Our new guide is designed to help city staff make this process as robust and inclusive as possible.Continue reading
A voice for American democracy, today and tomorrow
This year was unlike any other, and Sunlight's work making government transparent and accountable is more important than ever.Continue reading
Open data policy, participation, and progress: Sunlight Open Cities’ 2017 year in review
2017 was one of the most tumultuous years in recent political memory for the United States, but throughout the year city halls emerged as leaders on civic innovation, transparency, and good government.Continue reading
Worried about public comments on draft open data policy? Here are the most common sentiments.
Inviting public comments on draft policy can be a daunting proposition, especially in the age of angry Internet comments. Knowing how residents in other cities have responded to draft open data policy can help make that process more approachable. To better understand that we took a look at the most common sentiments in draft open data policy comments.Continue reading
Who are the most common commenters on open data policies?
A number of cities have invited feedback on draft open data policies — but who actually participates? We analyzed 164 comments made by 65 users on the online drafts posted by 9 American cities to find out.Continue reading
Public comments on city open data policies focus on governance, uses and privacy
Our analysis of public feedback on the draft open data policies posted by nine American cities online found that comments focus most on governance, usability and privacy. We hope cities will apply this information towards more meaningfully engage with the public.Continue reading
Announcing the Sunlight Foundation’s Open Data Policy Guidelines, Version 3.0
In honor of Sunshine Week 2014, the Sunlight Foundation officially welcomes you to explore our updated Open Data Policy Guidelines!Continue reading
Where’s the G8 Open Data Charter Action Plan?
Earlier this year the United States, along with the other G8 countries, signed on to an Open Data Charter. The document represented a high-level, international commitment to open data and transparency. It committed G8 countries to five important open data principles, including making open data the default. The document required signatories to release action plans for implementing the Charter by the end of October. Thanks to a tip from our friends at the German chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation we've found that, so far, only Britain and Italy have released their full plans (Japan has a draft plan available). There has been no talk, that we can find, about the U.S. action plan.Continue reading
Boilerplate Open Data Policy and Why It’s a Problem
In preparation for the revamping of our Open Data Policy Guidelines, we reviewed all twenty-three of the current local (city, county and state) open data policies on the books since their debut in 2006. These “open data policies” ranged in form from government administrative memos ordering the release of “high-value” datasets to legislation calling for open data policy planning to the newest member of the open data policy family, South Bend, Indiana’s executive order. Our main takeaway: There has been a lot of copying and pasting amongst policies, confusion on common open data terminology, and missed opportunities for information disclosure, but best practices are emerging.
Copying and pasting boilerplate legislative language is as old as law itself. In fact, legal precedent is built on throwbacks, edits, and remixes. The modern day copying and pasting feature has served as a technological blessing in legal matters that require a high level of repetition, such as producing demand letters for common legal claims, or, for one of Sunlight’s favorite exercises of individual rights, completing a public records or freedom of information request. However, when copying and pasting enters more nuanced areas of law, such as contract or legislation drafting, significant complications can arise. Without the proper edits or engaged collaborative thinking required in policy drafting, the ever tempting copy/paste model falls short. Below we explore just how borrowed open data legislative language thus far has been and examples of where it’s been the least helpful.Continue reading