Ensuring that government data are open and accessible is a key method to improve government accountability, promote efficiency, and drive innovation and economic growth. State level results, however, have been scattered. In 2010, after a meeting of 30 open government advocates, the Sunlight Foundation published “Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information,” as a road map “to evaluate the extent to which government data is open and accessible to the public.” These principles cover common-sense goals such as making sure all data are complete, timely, permanent, and without licensing restrictions, and more technical ones, such as establishing ease of electronic access and the ability for machines to read and parse the data. In short, the data should be searchable, sortable, downloadable, and machine-readable.
In 2013, the Sunlight Foundation adapted these principles into six criteria to evaluate state legislative bodies called the Open Legislative Data Report Card. This report uses that scorecard to assess state government data transparency, drawing from the Sunlight Foundation’s grades – which are continually updated as states implement new systems – at the time of publication.
For a more detailed explanation of each factor, including citations, please download the full report.
The Sunlight Foundation has identified “Ten Principles for Opening Up Government Information.” States should take these principles into account to ensure that members of the public are able to access information about how their government operates. These are as follows:
Click here to see a full list of policy recommendations to improve the health of state democracies based on the findings of this report.