Open Government: The Need for Readiness Assessment Framework

Since the Open Government Initiative was kick-started in the United States in 2009, the implementation of the concept has exceeded the borders of US to other countries around the world. Australia Declaration of Open Government and Canada Open Data Project are only two examples of these countries.

During the last few weeks, I’ve been in several meetings with officials from different government entities in United Arab Emirates (UAE) discussing how to formally start offering some open data on the websites of these entities. The discussions didn’t aim at formulating a government-wide open data infinitive, but rather it focused on publishing some data sets on some government websites (could be considered a pilot project). However, the discussions reminded me about the importance of not falling into the “country context gap” trap when tackling the Open Government and its related topics. The country context gap is widely considered as one of the reasons behind limited success in implementing e-Government (Gov 1.0) projects in many countries.

To avoid this, I believe there is a need an Open Government Readiness Assessment Framework.

This framework should examine the local context of a country and determine to what extent there is a “real” need for Open Government and what are the most appropriate approaches to go for it. More specifically, I think the framework should mainly provide answers to the following questions among others:
• Do we “really” need it? Why? And to what extent?
• What are the most appropriate approach to open the government?
• What are the main challenges facing the implementation of open government?
• How to deal with these challenges?
In my search for such a framework I came across some tools like the Open Government Framework and the Capability Assessment Toolkit for Sharing Justice Information both developed by Center of Technology at Government at University at Albany (thanks @CTG_UAlbany for sharing!).

While searching for other tools, I’m currently reviewing these two tools to see to what extent they could be used in answering the questions above but more important, if they can be transformed to a global Open Government Readiness Assessment Model … away from the American context.

I appreciate if you have any resources to share with me or if you have any comment to add

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