Administration says Open Gov Directive on track

With about a week to go before their first deadline, the Obama administration is saying that the Open Government Directive, the keystone effort to increase online access to government data, is on schedule.

In a public webcast on Thursday morning, Aneesh Chopra, the administration’s chief technology officer, said that officials were meeting weekly to keep progress on track. He promised that “each of our key agencies will release what we call high value data sets” in time to meet the directive’s first (and impending) January 22 deadline, which requires each agency to identify and publish in three such data sets online in an open format.

“We are meeting, we are talking, we are trading ideas. No significant delays are expected at the present time,” said Norm Eisen, the administration’s special counsel for ethics and government reform, in response to a question from Ellen Scott of ExecutiveGov during a conference call with reporters earlier this week. “We’re working to hit our marks.”

The Sunlight Foundation (which supports CJR’s reporting on transparency issues) has a handy timeline of the administration’s self-set deadlines under the Open Government Directive, which in addition to next Friday’s data set release, requires every agency to launch an open government website and for the White House to set up a progress monitoring public dashboard site by February 6.

The Open Government Directive will be the topic of a panel (featuring yours truly) at this coming Wednesday’s “Transparency in the Obama Administration” conference, a one-year-in assessment hosted by the Collaboration on Government Secrecy at American University’s Washington College of Law. (PDF schedule here.) The conference will be webcast, and starts at 9:15 a.m. with a keynote by Beth Simone Noveck, the director of the White House’s Open Government Initiative.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.