I have been working on the Open Data Initiative open source project focused on government financial transparency since this summer with the good people of Lincoln Network.
Why Government Transparency?
Transparency is a core principle of a modern government. We the people ask for accountability by understanding what our government is doing. Levying taxes is a basic government function. Many voters want government financial accountability to understand if their tax dollars are being spent wisely. This a long standing issue and as so many, experienced people have doing this work for many decades. Even so, many government organizations still lack financial transparency. Generally, because they lack the skills and tools. That is why we are working to bring the experienced transparency experts and government organizations together.
What I Did This Summer
Over this summer 2017, I started looking for a new nonprofit, open source project to work on. I wanted to use my experience working in Silicon Valley and on nonprofit open source software development projects to improve the ability of government to provide the public with open data. Once I met the people at Lincoln Network, we almost immediately started working on identifying how we could together to improve the state of government open financial data. We created the Open Data Initiative (ODI) to hold the results of our work.
Late summer 2017, we began by working with the 2016 PIRG financial report and each of the 50 US state open financial data records. From this research, we created our own transparency scorecard regarding the implementation of open data practices at the state level.
To challenge what we thought we understood, we have participated in a variety of events policy related events discussing the need of government financial transparency with policy groups and government officials throughout the Fall 2017. SPN Annual Conference in San Antonio, Data Coalition Open Data Demo Day in Sacramento, and California Policy Center CLEO in Orange County to name a few. We have been verifying our assumptions and solidifying our 2018 plans.
Check It Out
I just rebuilt the ODI website http://opendatainitiative.io, wiki http://wiki.opendatainitiative.io, and mailing list https://lists.opendatainitiative.io/mailman/listinfo/opendatainitiative.
Go check it out. We want participation from engineers, policy experts, and government officials in the Open Data Initiative work. By joining ODI, you will be helping to make open financial a reality for all government organizations.
Also published on Medium.