Grading Government Open Technology

January 18, 2011 By Aminda

Innovative companies interested in U.S. government projects will want to check out a report from Open Source for America.  The Federal Open Technology Report Card evaluated key indicators of open government and open technologies developed through online crowd sourcing and refined metrics outlined by the OSFA leadership committee. These included questions regarding public budgets, use of social media, and open source technology practices.

2010 marked the first year federal government agencies were operating under the Directive and Open Government Plans, a Presidental mandate to implement the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration in executive departments and agencies.

The Report Card assigned a percentage grade to the 15 Cabinet-level departments and agencies use of open source technologies, open formats, and technology tools for citizen engagement. Agencies that ranked highest based on the open source technology and open government criteria include:

  •     Department of Defense (82 percent)
  •     Department of Energy (72 percent)
  •     Department of Health and Human Services (55 percent)
  •     Department of Homeland Security (55 percent)
  •     Department of Transportation (53 percent)

Report Card results combine direct agency input as well as independent research conducted by OSFA. All line-items required substantiation through publicly available government websites.

“Open Source for America feels the results demonstrate a positive beginning. We hope government agencies will use the Federal Open Technology Report Card and its results to continue working toward the exchange of open information and the use of open source technologies and open formats within their departments,” said John Scott, co-chair of OSFA’s steering committee.

The mission of OSFA is to educate decision makers in the U.S. Federal government about the advantages of using free and open source software; to encourage the Federal agencies to give equal priority to procuring free and open source software in all of their procurement decisions; and generally provide an effective voice to the U.S. Federal government on behalf of the open source software community, private industry, academia, and other non-profits. Read the complete announcement here.

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