May 6, 2010
DOJ Ranked Last in OpenTheGovernment.org's Audit of Federal Agencies’ Open Government Plans
OpenTheGovernment.org has released its final rankings of federal agencies' progress under the Obama Administration's Open Government Directive. The rankings were based on an audit of each agency's Open Government Plans. Partners in the project included AALL, ALA, CDT, OMB Watch, the Sunlight Foundation, Union of Concerned Scientists and more. Visit the Evaluating Open Government website for the final rankings and and individual agency evaluations (comments can be added to individual agency pages).
About the lowest-ranked DOJ's progress, the audit reports
the plan is written in overly general terms and mostly proposes very broad actions which the agency “should” or “will” accomplish in the future, with very few timeframes provided. The DOJ plan does not list any currently available data sets, or any specific new high value data sets it plans to release in the future. These omissions are disappointing given the level of public participation in submitting ideas, including high value data sets that would be of great public interest, during the development of the plan.
Notably, the single flagship initiative DOJ proposes is among the most popular ideas posted to the agency’s collaborative OpenDOJ project – the creation of a FOIA Dashboard. The plan describes how DOJ will make all agency annual FOIA reports accessible in machine readable formats; however, only 2009 reports will be available. Other suggestions for the FOIA Dashboard, such as making available each agency’s complete annual FOIA report from 1996 to date, are not addressed in the plan.