NRC Seeks Public Input on Open Government

In a remarkable sign of how the ground is shifting in government information policy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has invited the public to suggest categories of NRC information that should be published on its web site, and to recommend other measures the Commission might take to improve transparency, public participation and collaboration.

A December 8, 2009 Open Government Directive (pdf) issued by the Obama Administration ordered federal agencies to “identify and publish online in an open format at least three high-value data sets” within 45 days (i.e. by January 22), and to take other steps “toward the goal of creating a more open government.”

In a Federal Register notice published today, the NRC asked for public assistance to meet the requirements of the Open Government Directive.

“To aid the NRC’s efforts to determine what data sets might be appropriate to publish and what transparency, public participation, and collaboration improvements it might include in its Open Government Plan, the NRC is soliciting public comments. Comments regarding publication of data sets are requested as soon as possible in light of the January 22, 2010, target date for publication of data sets,” the NRC notice said.

In fact, anyone can propose high value data sets belonging to any agency for publication online, through a public comment page on the Obama Administration’s data.gov web site.

We have suggested publication of the CIA’s CREST database of declassified historical records, and of a broad selection of Open Source Center products that are not classified or copyrighted.  Matt Schroeder of the FAS Arms Sales Project recommended improved online publication of government data on U.S. arms exports.