National Open Government Plan Released Today, includes Citizen Science, Crowdmapping

Advancing Open and Citizen-Centered Government, OSTP Blog

“Today, the United States released our third Open Government National Action Plan, announcing more than 40 new or expanded initiatives to advance the President’s commitment to an open and citizen-centered government.

The release is part of our membership in the Open Government Partnership — launched by President Obama and seven other heads of state — which in just 4 years has grown from 8 to now 66 countries. Member countries and their civil society partners are all working to increase public integrity, enhance public access to information, improve management of public resources, and give the public a more active voice in government processes. As a member of the Open Government Partnership, the United States issues Open Government National Action Plans outlining ambitious commitments to advance open government every 2 years.

The release of this plan coincides with the Open Government Partnership Summit taking place this week in Mexico City, where more than 2,000 open government reformers from member governments and civil society organizations are gathering.”


Citizen science was mentioned in the Third Open Government National Action Plan, released today, including

Open Science (p. 9-10):

  • Encourage Increased Public Participation in Open Science Using Low cost Scientific Instruments. One step that the Federal government could take to increase participation in citizen science and crowdsourcing is to develop hardware and software tools that are affordable, easy to use, and easy to improve.The Administration will kick off an interagency dialogue to identify best practices for how the Federal government can foster the development of low-cost scientific instrumentation and work with stakeholders through workshops and ideation challenges to identify opportunities for getting them into the hands of volunteers, such as air-quality monitors or wearables for monitoring personal health. Using these low-cost scientific instruments, volunteers can contribute their expertise to help advance a variety of scientific and society goals.

3. Engage the Public on our Nation’s Greatest Challenge (p. 12-13), including:

  • “The EPA will expand the use of citizen science approaches in environmental research by engaging amateur beekeepers to provie data to better understand the effects of environmental stressors and by engaging citizen scientists in research on harmful algal blooms using smartphone microscopy.”
  • “The USGS will roll out Science Cache, a web and mobile-based app for engaging the public in citizen science projects, such as finding huckleberry plants in Glacier National Park and taking pictures and recording data to inform research on climate change impacts.”
  • “The National Archives will expand its citizen archivist program that makes records more accessible online to include citizen-scanning of federal records in the agency’s new Innovation Hub.”
  • “Federal agencies will catalog their current open innovation activities including prizes, challenges, citizen science, and crowdsourcing activities…In addition, GSA will create a new project database that lists citizen science and crowdsourcing projects from across government.”

4. Collaborate with Citizen and Global Cartographers in Open Mapping (p. 13), including State Department, USAID, Peace Corps, and USGS will continue and expand crowdsourcing mapping efforts.


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