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Other Public Outreach and Communications Efforts OSTP staff members regularly participate in conferences, workshops, and meetings; give interviews to broadcast, print, and online media; meet with school groups; and write articles and op-eds. Our public communications are coordinated through the Office of Strategic Communications, headed by Rick Weiss. As a former science writer for the Washington Post, Rick is a tremendous advocate for the First Amendment and encourages all OSTP staff to talk openly while safeguarding personal privacy, national security, and using good judgment with the press about their work.

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This was the first blog within the Executive Office of the President to take public comment. Since our new website launched on February 3, , we have posted 25 blog entries. We are in the process of converting our blog over to the White House Drupal content management system and reposting older material. Twitter provides a unique channel for interacting with the American public. OSTP tweets a science and technology fun fact or interesting news item almost daily. Public Participation in Drafting this Plan From February 5 until March 19, , OSTP and more than 20 other partnering Federal agencies launched an online public consultation for the development of Open Government Plans using an online brainstorming platform called Ideascale.

Each brainstorming website discussed creating a more transparent, collaborative, and participatory government in that agency. People from all over the country suggested ideas, commented on others already posted, and voted on their favorites. OSTP, like many of the agencies, did not receive particularly robust participation. We had 23 commenters, who posted 29 ideas, votes, and 26 comments. We believe participation rates were low because we did not effectively advertise this opportunity to participate.

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Perhaps people believe incorrectly that we do not take seriously input received via these new tools. This suspicion may be heightened when, as in this case, OSTP staff did not participate by responding to postings on a daily basis. By contrast, in the public access policy forum, OSTP staff regularly engaged with the public, and participation rates were much higher. While the input received via Ideascale was helpful, we wanted to hear more and are sure than people would have liked the chance to tell us more.

With a brainstorming platform, public participation is not always in a form that would easily translate for implementation. For example, someone suggested that we convene a Space Solar Power Conference. Without speaking to the merits of the suggestion, the format we provided to the public by which to comment is short.

We get good ideas like this one but then do not provide the space that would allow for any detail or specifics to shorten the time to adoption of the proposal. The brainstorming format—although an excellent way to get new ideas quickly—is not well suited to longer postings. This is why we are working on two flagship initiatives to foster more in-depth forms of citizen participation. Administered and supported by OSTP, PCAST offers advice and makes recommendations in the many policy areas in which understanding of science, technology, and innovation is germane to good decisions.

It is important to note that while the private sector has long been webcasting meetings, this represents an almost-revolutionary advance for government and will help to realize the vision of more transparent and accessible federal advisory committees.

This evidently is serving a need, because there have been more than 65, page views as of Jan 20, of the live or archived streams. We are using interactive tools, including Facebook, to enable people to post questions to be answered at both the full-committee PCAST meetings and those of subcommittees such as the one focused on health IT.

We are posting questions from the public together with background papers in conjunction with our Advanced Manufacturing work. We have solicited public input so we can learn about model STEM-education programs in order to prepare a report on that topic. We have experimented, and will continue to experiment, with the use of innovative technologies to make PCAST as participatory as possible—and hence as broadly informed as possible with regard to the science and technology topics on which it must advise the President. In other words, we want to connect students studying technology with government agencies that have new projects in need of technical help.


This will not substitute for procuring professional-grade software and services. To the contrary, working with students will allow agencies to begin version 1. For example, the University of Maryland worked with the Department of Health and Human Services to prototype version 1. This effort gave a wide range of users—including health policy analysts, journalists, community leaders, and students—a chance to easily explore rich data sets. OSTP worked with students at New York Law School to produce a video to promote the use of interactive social media for civic engagement to government employees.

In another example, a professor at Princeton University developed FedThread, a new tool for collaboratively annotating the Federal Register in response to the National Archives announcement interested in new ways of presenting the Register. Figure 2 - Geeks for Wonks Advertisement. Policy Innovation: Prizes Across Government. Most importantly, it highlights potential legal pathways for deploying prizes. Working with other agencies to overcome potential challenges to prizes is important because well-designed prizes and challenges have a number of benefits. They stimulate private sector investment that is greater than any investment the government could make.

While there is a wide range of policy innovations by which one can translate good ideas into actionable policy, the currency of the realm is the one-page memo okay, two pages, max. Because of the extraordinary breadth of our work and the urgency with which we sometimes need to make decisions, we need short introductions that layout pros and cons of any approach. A very short intro paragraph explaining the proposal and why it would serve national priorities.

Alternatively, if you are identifying a single option make sure to anticipate any criticisms and identify missing facts. Such memos can be supplemented with backup materials, such as presentations or more detailed reports. Examples of specific goals that have been previously articulated by the President and others include early detection of dozens of diseases from a saliva sample, solar cells as cheap as paint, and educational software that is as compelling as the best video game and effective as a personal tutor.

Responses to this RFI were due April 15th.

Introduction: The Mission of OSTP

They could be submitted electronically to challenge ostp. Collaboration Within OSTP Within OSTP, we hold two weekly meetings of each of the four divisions to facilitate face-to-face collaboration within the office and foster exchange of ideas. To further encourage inter-office collaboration, we have altered our physical plant. Most of the staffers sit around the perimeter of a large room with a conference table in the middle.

The table serves as a locus for spontaneous convening and conversation. The office convenes inter-agency working groups on science, technology, and innovation. Global Change Research Program.

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Public-Private Collaboration OSTP realizes that some of the best ideas for furthering advances in science and technology come from research labs and universities throughout the country. That being so, OSTP works hard to build collaborative relationships with the private sector and to identify new approaches for furthering Administration priorities. Specifically, the competition seeks to leverage the recently released MyPyramid 1,food database to create Web or mobile-based apps to teach core concepts of healthy living.

Our commitment to openness means more than simply informing the American people about how decisions are made. It means recognizing that government does not have all the answers and that public officials need to draw on what citizens know. Over the past decade, the world has seen a dramatic increase in the pace, complexity and social significance of technological changes. There have been significant advances in areas such as computer and communications technologies, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, many of which have had repercussions in business, government, society, and the environment.

In order to address new and long-standing challenges posed by technological changes, inform legislators and policy-makers on the significance and impact of future technologies, and to educate and engage the public, our nation must find creative and innovative ways to enable the brightest scientific and engineering minds and the general public to better engage in the decision-making process.

An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition HMHB , Text4baby provides pregnant women and new moms with information they need to take care of their health and give their babies the best possible start in life. These messages focus on a variety of topics critical to maternal and child health: immunization, nutrition, seasonal flu, prenatal care, emotional well being, drugs and alcohol, labor and delivery, smoking cessation, breastfeeding, mental health, birth defects prevention, oral health, car seat safety, exercise and fitness, developmental milestones, safe sleep, family violence, and more.

Text4baby is made possible through a broad, public-private partnership of more than entities, including government, corporations, academic institutions, professional associations, tribal agencies, and non-profit organizations. Voxiva provides the mobile health platform, and participating wireless service providers generously provides free messaging services. MTV Networks is a media sponsor. The service now has over 26, subscribers. In his Memorandum on Scientific Integrity, President Obama declared that science and scientific processes should inform and help guide public policy.

With the rise of social networking technology—including such household brand names as Facebook and MySpace—we now have cheap and easy ways to connect large numbers of people for communication and collaboration. When a bank needs an expert on solar power in China, it taps the network for one or more experts to answer questions. For example, pharmaceutical companies started Innocentive, a Web-based community for connecting scientific problem solvers to problems they could solve for a monetary reward. Peer-to-Patent, another expert network, connects the United States Patent and Trademark Office to a network of self-selected, volunteer scientists and technologists who provide expertise to patent examiners to inform their ability to determine if a patent application represents an invention that is truly new and non-obvious, as the law requires in order to issue a patent.

Peer-to-Patent enables government officials in the patent office to gain access to the know-how and expertise of academic and industry scientists and get the answers that they need faster and more accurately than they could looking in books or databases themselves. Peer-to-Patent works differently to Innocentive, in that it creates online teams of people who work together to find and refine information for the USPTO.

The group does some of the work of vetting the information before it goes to the government official. This exciting project publishes scientific or other questions or challenges and solicit responses from existing networks, including Facebook or, soon, from Vivo.

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  • Rather than having to go to a single. We eagerly welcome your suggestions for options we should explore in order to realize the vision of an expert network that allows NSTC to:. The software platform will enable a process that facilitates experts to self-select and volunteer to collaborate with one another. We anticipate first trials of the process by Q3 of when the Vivo system should begin to be operational and Think Tank will have integrated with Vivo, Facebook, and other popular networks. What other platforms should we consider? How do you envision this functioning to be most useful and attractive for all?

    How should we pose the questions and give feedback? This plan is not a static document, and it represents only the very beginning of a journey towards furthering openness and effectiveness in the science, technology, and innovation work that we do at OSTP. We invite each of you to comment on and contribute to this plan. We ask you to consider the questions we have asked ourselves in the creation of this plan:. To the extent that there is additional high value information that you would like OSTP to make available, please let us know. To comment on this Plan, please send e-mail to intheopen ostp.

    We are constantly trying to improve this plan and appreciate your input. By fostering input and ongoing collaboration, OSTP will continue a dialogue with the American public to fulfilling its mission: ensuring that the policies of the Executive Branch are informed by sound science; and ensuring that the scientific and technical work of the Executive Branch is properly supported and coordinated so as to provide the greatest benefit to society.

    My name is Aneesh Chopra. In my capacity as Chief Technology Officer I essentially focus on three things. Second, I focus on platform initiatives, that is, areas where modest public sector engagement might yield dramatic improvements in the private sector. Here we talk about work in Health Care Information Technology, Smart Grid, and our new initiatives in the area of education technology. Last but not least, I focus on public-private partnerships, assuming that where there is no new money in the budget, and no new changes in Federal legislation, how might we advance the ball on technology, data, and innovation to advance our national priorities.

    This led to an unprecedented public engagement program, using the principles of Open Government to build a more Open Government. That led to our biggest accomplishment in December the publication of an Open Government Directive. A vehicle to spur a new culture in Washington; one that is far more open and transparent than what we saw coming in.

    My second area of focus has been on harnessing data, technology, and innovation for economic growth.

    Full text of White House 'Open Government Directive' - GovFresh

    A strategy he unveiled in September when I had the pleasure and privilege of joining him on Air Force One to upstate New York, where before a group of students he laid out a foundational strategy that would ensure that we are prepared in this country for sustainable growth and quality jobs. David Blumenthal, our national coordinator for HealthIT. Over the course of we engaged the American people with new and creative ways to figure out what would it mean to participate in a 21st century health care system.

    One that provided you access to your medical records within 48 hours of request, or to ensure the information about you and your loved ones can be transferred as your request to a physician that has been asked to provide a consultation. This rule, we believe, struck the balance between flexibility to spur innovation, as well as structure, so that we can ensure that when these patients access this 21st century system, they know that their medical information can flow safely and securely and with due respect to their privacy.

    That regulation came out at the end of the year, and early indications are that we got that balance just right. It is our hope in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, as demonstrated with how we approached the recommendations assignment by the President, that we embody the principles of Open Government in how we conduct our business. We intend to be as transparent as any office of the President, as well as any federal agency, to serve as a leading light if possible so that other agencies can see what it might mean to be fully transparent. And, last but not least, we believe in the execution of government policy, we absolutely can take full advantage of the collaboration principles of Open Government, so that we can achieve those results at a much lower cost and with far greater impact.

    Tom Kalil. My name is Tom Kalil. I am on loan from UC Berkeley, where I served as Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Science and Technology, and helped the campus develop multidisciplinary research and education initiatives at the intersection of bio, info, micro and nanotechnologies. In and , former President Clinton asked me to be the Chair for Global Health for the Clinton Global Initiative, which allowed me to work on issues such as newborn health, micronutrient deficiency, and neglected tropical diseases.

    This is my second tour of duty in the White House. I helped lead a number of Presidential science and technology initiatives, such as the National Nanotechnology Initiative, and the Clinton-Gore efforts related to information and communications technologies. My role in the office is to help Dr.

    It is also critical that OSTP staff have something that they are passionate about, because getting things done in an organization as complex as the federal government generally requires a sustained effort. Policy-making is a team sport. Some of the decisions and initiatives that I have contributed to that I think are important include:. Diana Zunker. I have been with OSTP for a little over three years. My role is to serve as administrative resource on a wide variety of personnel issues for the office.

    Andrew McLaughlin. My name is Andrew McLaughlin. Before joining the administration last summer, I was at Google, and worked on the Obama-Biden transition in My work at OSTP is focused on three broad areas: one is Open Government, all of the good transparency, collaboration, and participation stuff that we are doing to try to transform the way government works, and to build up the infrastructure that can support that.

    Second, I work on policy priorities of the President that have tech elements. Those are big presidential priorities that have core technology elements. Then we can collectively use this as a country to try to improve the way we measure and assess medical interventions, drugs, procedures, labs and so forth. So those rules represent a lot of hard work, and hitting the right balance between common standards that everyone can use, and specificity for particular issues like privacy and security.

    I think the biggest contribution we want to make this year is to really get right the physical infrastructure that we need: the servers, the hosting, and the cloud computing capabilities that we want. Susan Brancato. Although a security officer sounds ominous, it is a fun and interesting job. What I do every day is not very glamorous, but it is extremely important because in accordance with Executive Order , I oversee all aspects of classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information. It is important to note that information is not classified in a cavalier or light-hearted manner.

    There are specific categories with stated timelines for the classification of information, and these parameters can only be employed by an original classification authority. There are very few original classification authorities and this authority can only be exercised by the President and those designated by the President. If there is any doubt about the need to classify information, then it should not be classified. For classified information, it is important to protect it, be sure that it is viewed by only those that have a need to know, and ensure that it is declassified as soon as it no longer meets the standards for classification.

    One of the more glamorous aspects of my job is that a sound information security program requires a lot of education and follow-up and because of that I get to interact with various members of the OSTP staff, the EOP and other Government agencies on a daily basis. These interactions have increased monumentally over the last 15 months, which is a positive increase in the amount of information that is being exchanged, but keeps me pretty busy to ensure that we protect information appropriately and maintain need to know, as appropriate, at all times.

    I am privileged to be able to assist when necessary to ensure that the visitors are cleared for access into the office or appropriate areas within the EOP and it is pleasure to know that all citizens now have an opportunity to view the visitor logs and know more of the comings and goings of the many individuals that are either working on or with the many programs that it takes to make our country run or individuals that are recognized for their great contributions to our society.

    May not be glamorous, but it is the perfect combination of a responsibility-laden and fun job! Hillary Chen. My name is Hillary Chen. I think one of the most exciting [moments at OSTP has been the] public-private partnership called Text4Baby, which is the first free, nationwide mobile health information service available to pregnant women and new moms all over the country. And I hope it will be a really useful service for moms around the country, and families around the country. Looking forward, there are so many experts in the global health field and so many people thinking about international development right now, that staying in touch with those folks is going to be really important.

    I think [this] will be really important. I oversee science policy issues ranging from environmental quality such as toxics and risks, air and water quality, and hazards to global environmental change such as energy and climate, oceans, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. But OSTP is a flat organization, so we share policy experts across the various divisions. For example, policy analysts who work in the Technology Division on energy efficiency improvements, such as smart-grid or building retrofits, also work with our climate change experts to help evaluate the impacts these efforts will have on greenhouse-gas reduction.

    These synergies not only help build constructive working relationships across the divisions, they also advance our science policy agendas. Increasingly, energy and environment issues are interconnected. It makes articulating a coherent agenda and coordinated research programs across the agencies much more challenging.

    Through the National Science and Technology Council and its Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, my staff and I work with interagency committees to craft research initiatives and programs. And we work closely with the Office of Management and Budget and other offices within EOP to align resources necessary to execute them and to ensure Federally-supported science bears on policy. The climate science program has provided the bedrock of understanding about climate change that has been necessary to develop national and international policies to mitigate and adapt to its impact.

    The Program published an assessment report last June of climate change impacts here in the US that showed that climate change impacts are already affecting the core systems of our society: transportation, ecosystems, agriculture, business, and energy. The report, Global Change Impacts in the United States, was begun in the Bush administration, demonstrating that science can transcend political boundaries, and should continue to do so.

    For the US internationally, I serve as the lead delegate to the International Panel on Climate Change, which in spite of the recent controversy over minor missteps in its last report, has successfully aggregated findings of scientists across the continents and assembled experts to establish a still-standing consensus that climate change is real and already happening across the globe.

    On a personal level, I am fortunate to have had strong scientific influences in my family and many mentors throughout my career. My father and grandfather were both MIT trained engineers. I spent summers at a science camp associated with research institutions in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where I consumed the passion many marine scientists uttered about their work and the water world. I studied biology in college and ecology and natural resource policy in graduate school. Later I served as Chief International Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science before heading to the University of Texas at Austin to develop interdisciplinary efforts to advance science and the practice of sustainability.

    The things I am most proud of so far have to do with working toward a national strategy for earth observations. The Administration inherited a debacle of a joint military and civilian satellite program for weather forecasting, storm-tracking, and climate data that was underperforming, over budget, and because of technical and management difficulties, seriously in jeopardy of not achieving its mission. I am committed to interagency, cooperative efforts, and this one was particularly challenging.

    In the end, the team developed a plan for restructuring the program that was good for the nation, good for the agencies, and good for science, and provided a framework for success.

    What we do

    Tammy Taylor, Senior Policy Analyst. When I started college, my primary objective was rather simple: to graduate and obtain a secure job. My family had moved a total of six times during my childhood as a consequence of layoffs that affected the mining industry, where my father was employed. My parents were adamant that a college education could result in stable employment opportunities. I was interested in engineering right from the beginning, but found college overwhelming in comparison to my small town upbringing in New Mexico and Arizona.

    I also found it challenging to be in a discipline that was clearly under-represented by women and craved the companionship of girlfriends. Three-quarters of the way through freshman year, I quit. I packed up my dorm room and convinced my mother to move me home during spring break. My reprieve was brief. Monday morning following spring break my parents moved me right back and I asked the Dean of Engineering to give me the opportunity to finish my freshman year. He reinstated my scholarships and provided me the gift of a second chance.

    It takes courage, and support from a community, to break ties and form new ones. Happily I found that support from teachers, mentors and fellow students, and the pursuit of education became my grand passion for the next nine years. I intended to pursue a career in academia as a research professor, but prior to accepting a position opted to delay that path to acquire post-doctoral experience at Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL. My experience at LANL changed my career ambitions. I found my true calling in a career supporting our national security through nuclear nonproliferation; research to support emergency responder preparedness; and environmental remediation.

    I turned down my academic opportunity and joined the LANL Chemistry Division as a research engineer two years after starting my post-doc. I have three pieces of advice, particularly for women considering a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics STEM , all formed as a consequence of my personal path in an engineering and science career.

    This is part of the Smarter Government project that Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced recently to get most government services and data online. The postcode data is just one of many datasets we can hope to see from the government, and with Sir Tim Berners-Lee involved, the formats will use open standards with input from the World Wide Web Consortium. The prime minister said that 1, datasets have already been released, and he said:. And there are many hundreds more that can be opened up - not only from central government but also from local councils, the NHS, police and education authorities.

    The government has also promised better access to data from local authorities. If you're interested, you can read the entire directive on the White House website. For open data and government advocates, the default position of openness is welcome, especially by critics of the Bush administration who saw its default position as one of secrecy. However, open data activists are waiting to see if the agencies walk the talk. However, the proof is in the pudding.

    Implementation over the next few months will reveal how much new transparency we will actually receive from this process. This first step, the instructions to the agencies, has gone well, now our work must focus on ensuring the next step, implementation by agencies, goes equally well and produces substantive change. Meredith Fuchs at the National Security Archive project says one failing is that the directive doesn't have any "negative incentives" for failing to open up data.

    Clay Johnson with the Sunlight Foundation explained what the data directive in the US will mean for developers. While he's broadly supportive of the plan, he said one thing missing is "an inventory of data that government publishes online now but doesn't include in data. Drawing on the example of GPS which few people outside of the Pentagon knew about before its release, Johnson said:. There has to be a way to judge the value of information on the inside not just by public demand, but by the value it can add to society.