The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Open Government Plan notes the importance and need for more effective openness, collaboration and participation, but 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.
The plan also notes the importance of stakeholder in-put, including prospectively, and yet no mechanism is proposed for interested parties to participate.
If you any think part of the agency's plan is impressive, or you have concrete suggestions on how the agency could improve its plan, please share your ideas with us using the form at the bottom of the page.