Making Government documents transparent

There are so many articles about e-governance, but all these articles stress on what e-governance can do, with little thought on how and when e-governance systems should enclose and disclose information to the public. This article is different from all articles and lays down specific view as to when and how government documents could be made public.

The basic principle of any E-Government initiative should be to make the government most approachable to the general public. This means that it should use technology and regulations to disseminate Government Information from all related Federal agencies, in the most virgin form – i.e unaltered and unbiased.

The article given above, discusses in length about the Government’s will to disseminate information free to the public while some private sector opposes it since they see it as an “unfair competition” by providing a service that seems to fall under the purview of commercial publishers and information vendors.

In my opinion, respecting the taxpayer funds that US government utilizes for scientific and technological R&D, it should disseminate scientific and technical information from federal agencies, free of charge, most efficiently as e-documents that can be downloaded. FRPAA should be strictly applied.

Now there can be situations when it would be perfectly useful to handover the responsibility to the private sector. For e.g., as mentioned in the article, peer reviews are highly respected and it comes with a nominal fee.

In general, if any value added service is to be attached to the disseminated information, it might be economical and efficient to pass it on to private sector, otherwise, Government has to provide free access to the public.

Here’s a nice paper on this topic that I found, written by Warnick W.L. I enjoyed reading it. Here it is – Public/Private Sector Competition Issues in Disseminating Information inan E-Government Environment